Brick and Mortar. The term brick-and-mortar business is often used to refer to a company that possesses or leases retail shops. In today’s post, I am focusing on the downfall of Britain’s favourite high street brands, that fell from grace due to the harsh realities of the digital world. A few of the brands I will be focusing on are big names such as House of Fraser, Blockbuster and Toys R Us. Many of us would have not have expected that these retailers are fighting for their existence on the high street. The lack of digital embrace has led for these companies to financial difficulties, redundancy, and liquidation.
House Of Fraser
Britain’s most beloved department store House of Fraser once upon a time was a huge presence in UK’s high street. The company was established in 1849 in Glasgow. Making it one of the oldest department stores in the UK, alongside with Selfridges and Harrods. Anything you name it, House of Fraser had it and sold it. One of the main reasons why the company was the nation’s favourite is because of the variety of items sold.
You’re probably wondering how could a company this big change it’s course so quickly? The answer is technology. Unfortunately, as much as technology has created a positive impact for industries, companies, and people, it is also guilty of threatening companies. House of Fraser failed to embrace the digital culture. The company is facing the backlash of this vital mistake by leaving them with no other choice but to having to enter administration in August 2018. What could of House of Fraser done to prevent this? First of all, the company was late to join the digital world. Meaning they did not create an Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts until it was too late. Other retailers such as Primark, for example, mastered the relationship between the company and customers via social media.
Primark found different ways of interacting with consumers, such as creating prize draws via social media and regularly uploading content. They also collaborated with social media influencers to increase their following. Their consumer engagement has been proven successful when looking at Primark’s Instagram following, which has a whopping 6.7 million Instagram followers and House of Fraser has 191 thousand followers. Another issue that led House Of Fraser to its demise was pricing. House of Fraser was not on the cheap, which guided people to embrace online shopping.
Remember the days when you actually had to move from your couch or bed to watch movies or Tv shows? Yes scary to think, there once was a time the world didn’t have Netflix, Amazon Prime or illegal streaming sights which we are all guilty of doing. Cough cough (breaking the law). Yes, Blockbuster another retail company that the UK high street lost. We miss you! Blockbuster was the provider of home rental movies, Tv box sets, and games. It had 528 stores in the UK and it is safe to say that the company was facing extreme pressure from the digital era, leading the company to its grave. It was inevitable that the company was going into liquidation, due to not acting quick enough and transforming the platform digitally. Maybe things would have been different if they did? Most people are quick to say Netflix was the sole reason for BlockBuster’s death. However, that is not the case. The only thing Netflix is guilty of is being cleverly quick to transform into the market that Blockbuster should have moved to.
Toys R Us
Toys R Us aka Toy heaven. The company was founded by Charles Lazarus in 1957. A place so magical and loved by millions of children across the globe fell from grace and ended up in a not so magical happy ending, the company went into liquidation. It was announced in April that the toy giant would stop selling goods and it would be an end of an era. So how did one of the largest toy retailers get into this mess? Yep, technology! One of the main reasons why the company faced its premature death. Similarly to House of Fraser, the company had little online presence, this left the company at a disadvantage as online companies such as Amazon who have a huge online presence were selling toys for cheaper. Technology has given people the opportunity to shop on a budget.
Unfortunately for the retail company, technology not only affected the company but also had a huge impact on Toys R Us target audience. Kids! Children’s attitudes and behaviors over the past decade have changed vastly. They have become more interested in technology and have turned to IPads, Xbox and Nintendo’s. In a research conducted by MCG group in 2014, revealed that ‘More than 60% of parents claiming that their children use a touchscreen.’
These statistics connotes how kids are changing and prefer embracing the digital culture. What does this say about our future? Are we going to have kids that won’t be playing with Lego and Barbie’s? it is evident that the future is heading that way after seeing Toys R us closing all 1,475 stores worldwide.
The clip below, Mary Epner a retail expert talks to Fox news about the demise of the retail giant.
In conclusion, technology has disrupted the high street. Leaving retailers under constant threat and having to think of numerous ways of embracing technology. I hope you enjoyed this post and feel free to leave me a comment or tweet me @TH3R3V0LUT10N if you have any questions. I’ll be back next Thursday with another post!