Feb 19, 2021

Death of the Highstreet: How Online Fashion has Ruined Retail Shopping

The high street that we all know and recognize today never used to be the way it is now. Before online shopping the high street used to be vastly different, it was a thriving industry in the American economy, people love to shop so it brought in billions of dollars every year. However, many factors have had negative effects on the high street, it hasn’t managed to adapt and to keep up with the ever-changing society that we live in. Consumer needs are always changing and the high street has not been able to make enough changes to match what consumers now require.

This is why from your local village to your mid-sized towns to massive city high streets we’re seeing more and more empty shops as many businesses are going out of business as they can’t keep up. The biggest rival to the high street that is thought to have caused the demise is  Online Fashion and really all online stores that rival stores on the high street. The first online-only store was created in 1999 and was a store called Zappos, many see this as the beginning of the end of the high street. Since this first store, online shopping has become much bigger and much more popular, the biggest online shopping store is Amazon, one of the most successful companies in the world. Keep on reading to find out how the high street went from being extremely popular to failing in comparison to online companies.

Why online fashion and other online stores have caused the death of the high street.

Like with any company and business, to continue to be profitable and thrive year after year then it is vital that a company does lots of research and speaks to lots of focus groups to find out what the current needs of a consumer are and how they can be met. The high street has not been able to do this.

People used to enjoy going for a day out to go shopping but due to many factors, this isn’t the case anymore. People these days are much busier, people tend to work longer hours than previously, many people are working 2 jobs so they simply don’t have the time to go to the high street anymore, especially when many fashion shops and various other shops have opening hours in line with many people’s work schedules so they can’t pop in after work.

This is where online shopping can meet their needs whilst the high street cannot. Online shopping is much easier and quicker, for example, if an individual wants to purchase a new fashionable hat rather than having to search the whole store they can simply type it into a search bar and see all the hats that are available to buy. Online stores used to have the downside of having to wait several days to receive your item so many people would go to the high street to get it that day, but now thanks to services such as Amazon Prime, people can pay a monthly subscription and get an unlimited amount of free next day deliveries.

Costs associated with high street shops.

Another area of business where high street stores can’t compete with online stores is costs. Having a physical store for customers to walk around and shop for clothes and other products is great in theory as it allows customers to try on clothes which is a positive to any consumer, it will save them the hassle of it arriving and having to send it back. However, in recent years the costs associated with maintaining these stores have massively increased, rent prices have increased rapidly every year in the USA and overhead costs (lighting, heating, electricity, etc) have also increased.

This has a negative impact on a business’s overall profit, online stores however don’t suffer from this problem as all of their stock will be in a warehouse and it will be much cheaper to maintain. This has created much more competition for high street stores as they have to account for all of these costs when pricing their clothes and other products. However, online shopping can offer more competitive prices as they don’t have to take back any of these costs. This has led to the creation of hundreds of online fashion stores from big companies such as boohoo to smaller companies such as hgbagsonline. Many people took the opportunity to create their own online fashion store making it a highly competitive market that retail stores just cannot compete with. Online shopping is cheaper and less effort which is more suited to the average American’s current lifestyle so has led to the death of the high street.

Other factors that have caused the death of the high street.

The last 10 months have brought devastation to the high street as they’ve spent a lot of time closed down due to government-imposed lockdowns, this caused many fashion stores to fail as they couldn’t make a profit, the ones who survived were the ones who went online. Another issue is that people have less disposable income so cannot afford to spend as much on the high street, it’s seen as a luxury rather than a necessity. While things don’t look good for the high street we hope that it can make a comeback.

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