With high streets in the UK revealing more and more empty shop fronts and retailers turning to digital e-commerce, it’s easy to think the analogue shopping experience is dying. With retailers like Amazon and Asos offering overwhelming choice, fast delivery and free returns, it’s becoming more and more difficult for high street shops and physical retailers to compete. It’s easier to think that this is creating a demise in the high street of yore…or is it, actually, that consumers want something different?

Brands like made.com are doing a stellar trade on the high street, attracting more and more customers to their physical stores. Why? Because they’re putting customer need first. Creative Review has done a great piece on why their customer-test first, manufacture-later approach is working so well.

Let’s not forget the seemingly interminable rise of shops like IKEA, whose tiny pencils and showrooms have a constant allure, who turned over 3bn euros last year. Is it actually the experience that shoppers want? An immersive, inspirational experience like the IKEA showrooms and not a bog standard clothes-rail fit out?

We’ve also seen the somewhat bizarre rise of the coffee shop-come-hairdressers-come-brunch spots in the last couple of years. This would again, seem to suggest that customers are looking for an experience rather than a pedestrian exchange of money for goods. 

Or is the rise of IKEA and made.com simply because when consumers are shopping for big-ticket items that will feature prominently in their home, they would always rather physically see it first? Either way, we wholeheartedly support an immersive shopping experience that keeps high streets alive.