The high street is becoming a tough environment for retailers to thrive within. To ensure their longevity and value while competing with online services is incredibly difficult. For a new business, this can be especially challenging. Retail spaces are having to adapt to a changing market and look beyond their products to ensure continued custom.
This is taking many forms. Bookshops are hosting literary events and kitchenware shops are hosting chef demonstrations. Retailers are building a culture around their product that cannot be replicated through online portals and marketplaces. One of the most popular trends taking place now is a retail collaboration, such as pop-up and guest shops.
Starting up a company is a costly and risky endeavour. To tackle this, many young entrepreneurs are collaborating with others, sometimes more established retailers, to share the overheads. It is an incredibly advantageous tactic for all parties involved, having the potential to promote the brand value of both concepts.
For instance, a talented ceramicist may be looking to build a larger audience for their wares and grow sales enough to establish their own shop. In this scenario, it is now common for the ceramicist to collaborate with local cafes and coffee shops, offering to supply cups for the cafe’s service in exchange for retail space within their venue.
As a customer of the cafe, noticing the unique and attractive cup that your speciality coffee is served in, you may then have your attention diverted to the wooden shop shelving next to the counter, showcasing a range of ceramics for sale.
Both the ceramicist and the cafe benefit from the brand association, having their products associated with each other. Additionally, the ceramicist has a storefront for their wares (potentially one of many) without the costs of their own individual space.
These types of exchanges are becoming more popular and even more long term. Businesses are not only appearing within shared sites for temporary events but retailers are beginning to collaborate permanently. Fashion outlets are hosting make-up retailers, barbershops are appearing in cafes. The benefits of collaboration within retail are now well-known and will continue to grow in popularity.
Interestingly, this trend is not restricted to newly established retailers. Since no company is immune to the greater pressure placed upon the high street, even larger businesses are looking to share each other’s space. It has never been uncommon for well-known retailers to do so (if you consider supermarkets containing restaurants and banks for example); however, we are now beginning to see it on a greater scale.
Most notably, the Post Office was brought into W.H. Smith’s. And Argos and Sainsbury’s began to share their spaces too. Bringing the concepts together benefits the customers too, who will be more inclined to make a single trip, saving time on their weekly shopping.
While the future of retail remains uncertain amidst increasing competition, it is safe to assume that our retail spaces will continue to change dramatically.