Ding Dong the High Street is Dead

by Alex Telfer

You know your nearest High Street, right?

That vibrant collection of bookies, charity shops, bookies, fast food outlets and bookies; Its bustling pavement hosting fresh-faced chuggers, a distressing, wild-looking man sipping Frosty Jack and a crew of tracksuit-clad youths gathered round a bench listening to awful tinny-sounding music from a phone; While discarded kebab trays and empty lager cans dodge clumps of masticated chewing gum and still-smouldering cigarette stubs before falling into the gutter.

You know your nearest High Street, right? Well cherish it as, with experts predicting that by 2040 95% of all UK retail sales will be made online, (https://www.gurufocus.com/news/492058/uk-online-shopping-and-ecommerce-statistics-for-2017) it’s probably going to get worse. God knows what will be left in our town centres in two decades. Probably just burnt out buildings, rusting burger vans, packs of starving dogs and a cavernous Wetherspoons doing a roaring trade despite it being Monday morning.

But seriously, it doesn’t take Nostradamus to predict a future where life is lived almost entirely online – we’re already in it. For example, how would we answer the following vital questions?

“Is it karaoke at the Red Lion tonight?”
“When does the chippy open?”
“Can I find a local builder who specialises in infinity pools?”

Back in the good old days – pre-internet and pre-mobile phones (basically about 1999) – if you were lucky, a scan through the local paper would reveal, sandwiched between the obituaries and the Angling news, an advert from the Red Lion detailing their weekly schedule. Yes my friend – we used to get news from newspapers not Buzzfeed.

And if you were lucky, Aunty Pat (not a real Aunty – a long term family friend) would know off by heart that Mickey’s Fish’n’chips opened daily at 11am but was closed on Wednesday afternoons. Yes my friend – there was a time when shops closed.

And if you were lucky, a trawl through the Yellow Pages – a now forgotten, banana-coloured slab listing every single telephone number in the world – would reveal the name of a sane-sounding builder for you to call and thrash out the details. Yes, my friend – we used to actually call people.

These days, In-between trolling innocuous celebrities and posting ‘8 sleeps till Grimsby!’ style messages on Facebook, people simply click their mouse/tap their phone and ‘Hey Google’ all the above knowledge would be theirs.

Word of mouth is now word of Google. All information is online. Long live the internet. As let’s face it, we’re in trouble without it.

Which is why, in the face of this ever-growing E-commerce culture, it’s surprising that over a third of UK businesses still don’t have a website. (https://www.approvedindex.co.uk/web-designers/how-much-does-a-website-cost) Bear in mind, even Skittles, the healthy and nutritious confectionery, has its own site – Taste the Rainbow mofos!

To get to the somewhat convoluted and contrived point, if you were thinking about a website for your business or project, before emojis completely replace the English language, now could well be the time to act. 😊