iDEA'S FROM THE EDGE
±1 Chain Stores
Yeah, we see what you mean, towns and cities are looking strangely clone-like these days. This became evident while travelling through London, Avignon, and Barcelona recently, while each had its own beautiful architecture, their main streets had almost identical shops, with all those familiar logos catching the eye. Not only was this confusing geographically, it completely subdues the sense of adventure you feel when travelling.
Those naughty corporate chains have managed to take over our main streets, not only sucking the life out of local businesses but blunting our ascetic vision in the process. Another bizarre point is the staff employed by these chains were oddly similar in personality and attitude!
Sales in traditional retail shops around the world are falling faster then a professional footballer, the growing strength of online shopping is looming large and big chains are suffering. There's an over-abundance of shops, and they are failing at an alarming rate. It's leading to a rapid shrinking of jobs, this will worsen as the technological revolution takes over.
So here's an idea…Let's restrict corporate chain stores!
Okay, you may imagine this is difficult to instigate, due to global brands having long-term property agreements. However, we are arriving at a crossroads and there's a window of opportunity which could benefit everyone concerned...
The internet is, without doubt, the most powerful marketing channel we have ever seen, whereas shops are trapped within the traditional system of having overheads, such as rent, rates, staff costs - online companies don't have these costly overheads, add the fact buying online is a far more convenient and comfortable experience. In our fast-paced lives, the thought of trudging around is becoming less attractive, when you can view and choose in comfort, click a few buttons and voilà it arrives at your door a few days later!
This is not a new invention, in the 60's and 70's catalogue shopping by post was massive in Europe and the US, we've taken in a little loop and remixed the concept using the internet. Its indeed scary times for global brands, they must adapt quickly or will fall away
Restricting large corporations to only one store in a big town and say two stores in a city, may actually help them, Its no surprise Apple stores are full, as there's usually only one or two in large cities, this has many advantage as they confine and squeeze overheads, staffing, stock and customers into one location, not to mention it gives the whole place a funky busy vibe, making buyers feel excited to be there.
Perhaps its time to rethink what our centres actually provide and try to re-imagine the uses for those beautiful buildings. Brands are already looking at closing unprofitable stores, okay how about this...
A negative issue with making an online purchase is getting your item delivered, as people are at work. Stores could use this point to their benefit - you could order online, print your confirmation, then go to the store to collect. A bit like an airline ticket - you arrive with your confirmation, scan it into a machine, go to a seated cafe type area, have a drink/snack and boom your item is called, collect and off you go. For clothing you are called to a dressing area, try in on and decide if you want to buy. Imagine going from store to store knowing your items are waiting for you. Sounds a far more attractive trip to the shops doesn't it?
Stores could become more sociable places. They would be selling to the online generation while they could earn extra on food, drinks plus of course people will always pick up extra items when in the store. It could also be a great way to communicate the brands' ethos via design, service, and atmosphere
A lovely benefit of having fewer global brands in our towns is it would give local and small businesses a real chance to grow within the community. Big brands could earn rental income by converting their buildings into smaller individual shops. No doubt local businesses would be happy to be in a prominent location at a reasonable cost in their own area
Thus supporting and invigorating the community. There's no doubt we need to get away from cheap overseas goods, which often involve terrible working conditions and low-quality materials being used, where we end up getting poorer products with shorter lifespans, which is causing the enormous amount of refuse being sent to landfill sites in third world countries
The biggest advantage would be for us. The customers. We would get the convenience of big brand online shopping, with a real diversity of local crafted and sourced goods, in better quality materials.
So what do you say....For or Against?
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