Been reading an interesting article about saving our high streets, yet it seems that for many shopkeepers in Bude, life is busier than ever. As large chains and smaller shops close at an alarming rate, we tend to blame internet shopping, and the weather but according to the research in the link, it isn’t quite like that. The research findings are this:
- Very few people go to a town simply to shop at one place; a shopping experience is a whole package, so it requires trading hours which reflect customer need (Bude, for example, has traditionally been pretty dead on Sundays but for visitors to the town, especially when the weather isn’t great, shopping and dining out on a Sunday would be a real bonus.
- Towns need a variety of shops. If Bude was predominantly hairdressers or surf shops, for example, then it would alienate groups of shoppers. If all your needs cannot be satisfied in one place, then online or out of town becomes attractive – traditionally, Bude has had few children’s clothing outlets, for example.
- The streets are more attractive if spruced up. We have really wonderful street cleaners in Bude, but yes, a cliche it may be but people do find floral displays and good lighting enticing.
- The town needs to have a plan – what is it trying to achieve?
- Service with a smile is good, friendliness, helpfulness, decent pricing (not greed) and good quality food all year round makes a positive impression.
Really, it comes down to working together, collaboration, and a willingness to share experiences and ‘big each other up’. What are your thoughts?