Emerging Trends on the UK High-Street: Fusion Businesses
While the future of the high street has seemed uncertain for some time now, recent forecasts are looking positive as Savills predicts huge growth for the UK retail market in 2018. Not to mention our own research discovering that 46% of surveyed businesses see their future as “booming”, particularly when employing an integrated online and offline strategy.
However, with many businesses looking to get in on this rise, competition will still be at an all time high which means that business owners really need to step up to the plate when it comes to offering their customers the best experience possible. And one high street trend that seems to keep coming back around is fusion retailing.
What is fusion retailing?
In this case, fusion retailing is where a business offers a combination of products or services to their customers. While this is nothing new, after all greengrocer/florists and bookshop/cafes have been around for years, we are seeing a resurgence of fusion retailing carefully designed to meet emerging customer demands.
Why fusion retailing?
More and more retailers are personalising their in-store customer experience and tailoring it to the exact wants of the consumer - therefore fusion retailing often seems like a good solution. This also comes from the growing need for the same convenience of a department store or shopping centre, but without having to trek through numerous shops.
Instead consumers want more choice and offerings brought straight to their local high street and in a smaller store format. And, obviously, a huge benefit of this is that customers stay longer in-store and spend more money within your business.
With this kind of disruption to the traditional brick and mortar store, retailers now need to cater for different markets and locations while experimenting with the design of their store. Neil Saunders, Managing Director and Retail Analyst at GlobalData Retail says, “The days of the one-size fits all store model are fading, and the future will require a more flexible approach with a variety of store formats designed to address different locations and markets.”
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some fusion retailing examples that are popping up on the high street:
Fashion retail stores offering a one-stop experience
While bigger brands such as Topshop have long incorporated experiences such as cafes, hairdressers, piercing parlours and beauty salons within their stores, smaller retail outlets on the high street can also adopt a similar approach.
For example, Paper Dress Vintage in Hackney sell vintage clothes but also offer customers the opportunity to sit down, grab a drink and order something to eat. They also host music events, parties and exhibitions, turning into a lively recreational space in the evening. Their in-store alteration team and personal shopper service make this a great one-stop shopping experience for customers!
Stores that offer products, services and coffee
Machine is a bike shop in South East London that not only sells bike in-store but also offers bike servicing and repairs. Customers can then head to the in-store cafe to pick up a coffee and some lunch. They even have a gift shop with a selection of bicycle themed greeting cards, mugs, cycling books, socks and many other cycle-related options. This goes to show that being a specialist store doesn’t mean you have to limit your offering!
Vape shops adopting dining culture
With the vape shop trend continuing to grow, it’s now become more about the overall experience. KrayzeeVape in Enfield are doing just that - as well as selling over 104 flavours and over 28 e-cigarette unit styles in their store, customers are also able to enjoy hot food, shakes and coffee while they vape. With this, it seems it’s just as much about creating a comfortable and convenient environment as it is about the products that are sold.
So what’s next?
As businesses continue to cater to customer demand, we can expect to see increasing collaborations between different businesses, stronger working partnerships, and a more integrated and tailored experience for the customer!
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