Two interesting things struck me in our news coverage this month. First a new selling feature on photo-sharing social media app, Instagram, was ignored by more than 80% of retailers in its first week.
A new ‘Shopping’ feature was rolled out to business accounts in the UK, as well as Germany France, Italy Brazil, Canada, Spain and Australia, but at the time of writing just 8% of UK brands had made use of the photo tags which drive followers to buy ‘Instagrammed’ goods online.
The slow take-up is not to say they won’t eventually adopt the technology, but perhaps it indicates a reticence among traditional retailers to keep handing over their selling power to app companies.
Second, a study found that the tsunami of chain collapses, closures and staff layoffs in recent months has led to a rapid increase in the number of independent retailers occupying units. The study from an online retailer considered where multiple stores have declined in comparison to areas independent stores are opening. It found that chain store closures were seen in every region in 2017 – except Yorkshire and the Humber. The West Midlands, Greater London and East of England have seen the most multiple store closures, while the North West, West Midlands and Scotland have seen extraordinary independent growth.
Some time ago we mused in the office about how the death of huge chains might one day force landlords to reduce rents resulting in a flood of independent curiosities snapping up cheaper units, making high streets varied and interesting once again. Again, it is not a mass-change in the market, but I believe the high street will always have a place, and actually the end of retail chains’ domination of shopping districts would not be a bad thing for the indies.