Is the rise of e-commerce destroying the high street?



Without technology and the e-commerce market, we wouldn’t have access to the everchanging fashion trends society goes through. By the click of a button, we can instantly see what the world is wearing, and change our styles accordingly. Yet, is the rise of technological fashion having a detrimental effect on the high street?


It goes without saying that 2020 has challenged retail, with online flash sales becoming increasingly more frequent for stores to get rid of their stock. Many people (including me) crave retail therapy, and with the closing of clothing stores, customer service is non-existent. The rise of technology has opened many doors for the future of fashion, and customer service is a huge part of this.


An online world


I’m running out of reasons to go out to the shops, as the e-commerce market keeps convincing me that I don’t have to! Instead of going in to see a make-up artist to help me choose the perfect shade of lipstick, I can now use online try on features, which includes technology uploading the make up straight onto your face. I can even try on clothing before I buy online (?!). I never thought I wouldn’t have to physically go into a make-up store to buy the right products; technology now has that covered.


The advancement of technology and e-commerce is all well and good for the future of retail, but what about the social side of things? Going into a store and trying make up on and chatting with retail assistants is all a part of the wider experience of shopping – technology is preventing these encounters from continuing.


In store or online?


There are many fashion brands that are solely online, and some that are solely in store; there are pros and cons for both. Technology allows retailers to reach the masses and make instant sales, yet the added postage and packaging makes for a longer process than simply going in and out of a store with your desired products.


My question is: which option is better? In our current climate, online shopping is the only way to go about things. The advancement of technology is imperative in all aspects of our society at the moment, and many stores are having to pay more attention to their online formats.


A world of e-commerce


One of my favourite things to do is to go into town and try on the latest fashion. My fear is that the high street will never recover from the pandemic, let alone the advancement of technology with regards to online shopping. I imagine many people’s attitudes have changed on shopping – “Why go into town when I can online shop in my pyjamas?” is a sentence I often hear…


With many stores prioritising their online shops, I don’t think it is unimaginable to think of a time without the high street. Imagine the detrimental effect this would have on millions of people’s jobs as customer service assistants.


E-commerce becoming commercial


Amazon dominated 30% of the e-commerce market last year, and I imagine this figure will be even bigger in 2020 for obvious reasons. Even without a pandemic to pander on, is the high street dying? With the opportunity for brands to use technology to market their apparel, it is expected that by 2022 the e-commerce clothing segment revenue will rise to £475 billion.


E-commerce is growing three times faster than traditional retail. With this growth rate, are we expecting a permanent lockdown for the high street? Technology and fashion now go hand in hand in all aspects, from media coverage to tagging a clothing brand in an Instagram post.


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