A recent research piece by the BBC analysed 1.5 million records in the Ordnance Survey’s mapping data, using figures from March 2020 and March 2022 to compare snapshots of the UK high streets at those times.
The research shows a substantial decline in the number of clothing stores, banks, nightclubs, and department stores, while there has been an increase in the number of beauty salons, tattoo parlours, cafes, and fast food restaurants. This shift in consumer behaviour has left many businesses struggling to adapt and find new ways to attract customers.
Affected businesses are looking to combat these shifts using a range of solutions. These include establishing a strong digital presence, whilst many physical stores are looking to revamp the design and layout of their premises. These redesigns include making their locations more ‘Instagrammable’, allowing consumers to essentially become free brand ambassadors, promoting their store on social media.
Another solution these businesses can turn to is outdoor advertising. By using formats such as lamppost banners and roadside billboards, businesses can drastically increase awareness of their brand, offers and services, and drive foot traffic to their physical stores. Advertising on the high street can be highly effective for those businesses in the growing sectors who are looking to set themselves aside from the competition.
Lamppost banners are a particularly popular choice, an abundant format which can be placed on almost any street column for high visibility in a targeted location. These double-sided banners can point passersby in the direction of a physical store, and can help make the local population aware of a business’ presence in their area, even if they are not immediately looking for the service.
Elsewhere, companies looking to reinvent themselves in the face of changing shopping habits may be looking to share new services, promotions and events. Outdoor advertising is also well suited for this purpose, as these formats are highly visible over a long-term period, targeted to the local community and positioned in such a way that pedestrians and drivers have ample time to read and assimilate the message being shared.
This is a time of significant change for the UK high street, with businesses facing a struggle to compete in a difficult climate. However, solutions such as advertising on the high street can help businesses reach a large local audience, building awareness and driving traffic to their stores. A timely promotion in the right area can have a dramatic impact on sales and can help a business stand out in a crowded market. Overall, businesses across all sectors can benefit from a review of their positioning in the face of this changing activity, and should consider a range of solutions to best navigate the coming years.