It’s 2023. If we reflect on the past 3 years, it’s astonishing to think about how much has changed. Let’s face it, since the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020, very little has been the same. One of the major talking points of the past year has been the UK cost of living crisis. This crisis is a consequence of a significant drop in disposable incomes. That is a result of skyrocketing costs for fuel, food and other essentials.
For many consumers, making a trip to the city centre has become prohibitively expensive. UK shoppers are spending a lot less in this climate. This is down to rising fuel and parking costs, which are continuing to increase in Exeter.
The Death Of The High Street
As a country, we’ve been well aware of the impending ‘death of the high street’ for some time now. Since retail giants such as Debenhams closed their doors for good, more and more retailers have followed in those steps. Unfortunately, independent traders seem to be hit the hardest.
At the end of 2022, one of Exeter’s most famous independent shops ceased trading. Mansons Guitar Shop was well-known for supplying big names like Muse, Led Zeppelin and Foo Fighters with their instruments. When Hugh Manson decided it was time to retire, he put the shop on the market to find its new owner. While he said there was some interest, it wasn’t to be. The current state of the UK market isn’t attractive to potential new business owners. The shop will close for good in June 2023.
Empty units are not an unusual sight nowadays in Devon. It’s clear that the high street is changing, which is bad news for shopfront businesses. So, how do we combat this? Like it or not, we can’t reduce living costs or increase disposable incomes across the country. In times like these, we have to adapt.
Get Your Business On The Online High Street
When you need to find a local service, where do you go first? Gone are the days when you’d open up a directory book or travel into town to find what you want. There’s a much higher chance now that you’ll do an online search to find businesses in your area that provide the service.
There are lots of benefits to getting a business online. For starters, there’s no parking or transport charges for your customers to reach you. You’ll also be displaying your business to hordes of online shoppers and searchers. If you don’t have an online presence, you’ll be unable to reach anyone who uses the internet to search for your services.
When the economy changes, the priorities of your clients also change. In a post-Covid world, many consumers choose to research services before making any decisions. People are more careful than ever with their money, so your online presence could be what makes or breaks a sale. If your business lacks reviews or information online, they could choose to spend their money elsewhere in a place that looks more trustworthy.
Establish Yourself Now, Benefit Later
There’s lots of support available for businesses in Devon. In hard times, this free support can be a lifeline for any business, whether they’re newly established or on the brink of collapse. As well as this, getting online can give your business the boost it needs and offers more opportunities for growth.
By establishing a good online presence now, while we’re in the thick of the cost of living crisis, you’re setting your business up for a better future. If you receive help from the government to get you through the current climate, don’t expect this to last. In fact, you’re likely to lose that extra assistance before any economical improvements affect your bank account.
By getting your business online, you’re setting yourself up for positive growth. An online presence can be much more resilient than a storefront location. In the unfortunate event that your physical store is forced to close, you can continue to trade online.
Maintaining a business website comes with less costs than a high street location. You won’t be liable to pay business rates or rental fees. A website usually requires you to pay for your website address, hosting and initial set up. After this, there might be a small monthly maintenance fee that is a fraction of the cost of a physical store.
Build A Brand Online
Establishing your brand identity online could be the best thing that you do for your business. Think of your website like a safety net. The financial crisis is sure to have an impact on many companies in the comings months and years. If you’re able to get your name out there and reach more customers, you could find things a little easier.