Business rates, leases, economic downturns, and now the rising cost of utilities have all put traditional High Street retailers under pressure. Online shopping has certainly had a part to play in our changing buying habits too. Most of us now do some online research before we decide what to buy, but does that mean that we don’t need ‘bricks and mortar stores’ anymore? 

The rise of online shopping 

You can’t get your hair cut online and there’s still a lot to be said for seeing, touching and feeling things like clothes, shoes, and jewellery, for example. So, there will always be a place for shops and shopping in our lives. 
However, the challenges facing High Street retailers aren’t new and we’ve seen many old favourites like BHS and Debenhams losing their fight to remain viable. Unfortunately, as more and more businesses move out of the High Street, the chances of being able to find what you’re looking for are reducing, driving people to online retailers and a ‘Virtual High Street’. 
The good news is that independent retailers are still popular in our High Streets and many are looking forward to the future. One of the ways they will succeed is by giving their business a boost with a high-quality online store. 

Your online shopfront 

Just like having a High Street shop front, your business needs to be visible on the internet as well. Your website is your ‘virtual shop window’ – and it needs to look good and be easy to find for those who ‘pass by’ online. 
So, you need a modern, professionally designed and attractive website that represents your brand. To perform well in search results, it also needs to be fully responsive for mobile devices and easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile devices. Your search engine optimisation (SEO) needs to be carefully planned and implemented too. 
To appeal to your local audience, you also need an up to date Google Business Profile where your customers can find out more about your business, along with your contact information, opening times and location. Importantly, you can also ask your satisfied customers to leave reviews. 

Quality content 

The key to success is to keep your online content up to date with blog posts, social media posts, and high quality on-page text and images. 
Put all of this together and you will be discovered by local shoppers who will be able to buy from you in whichever way suits them best. 
Run in-store offers and events to encourage them to come along to meet you in person and you’ll soon have a loyal customer base who wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else. 

Stony Stratford 

An example of a thriving Milton Keynes High Street in this digital age. 

Need help promoting your retail business online? 

Talk to your local it’seeze consultant to find out more about how your business can take its place on the Virtual High Street. 
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