MARKETING THE HIGH STREET: A NEW CHALLENGE IN CHINESE RETAILING COMPARED WITH E-COMMERCE
For a long time, high street retailing has flourished in the U.K and other Commonwealth countries. However, the increasing popularity of e-commerce is threatening to push away consumers of high street brands. This is because e-commerce provides more convenience and accessibility. Greenland and Newman (2015, p.52) describe high street retailing as those retail activities that take place in the traditional shopping spaces of a town, city or any other urban location. Gardner and Sheppard (2012, p. 143) point out that a series of changes are taking place in many high street retailing destinations including the U.K and the U.S. Some of the changes they mention include trends towards concentration, a shift towards specialization as well as a move by major brands towards increased market share. The changes have had a significant impact on local and independent traders, with Gardner and Sheppard (2012, p.143) stating that most of them are facing an uphill task when it comes to finding a prime site for business and reliable customers
Traditionally, the high street is known for its diversity and the good mix of goods and services it offers. However, the past few years have seen the disappearance of independent players from the high street in most economies around the world, a fact that has made it impossible for most shopping areas to differentiate themselves from emerging shopping areas within the same geographic region. Gardner and Sheppard (2012, p.143) point out that most town centres around the world are increasingly multiple looks and that this trend is likely to increase in the coming years. Pradhan (2009, p.185) discusses the practice of high street retailing in India. He opines that high street locations in India are characterized by a fair share of challenges, including poor parking availability, inadequate maintenance of common areas and encumbrances on property. Pradhan opines that poor town planning has resulted in unplanned marketplaces characterized by a lack of parking spaces as well as a disorganized mix of shops. He is of the view that despite these challenges and issues, the significance of the high street in India is unlikely to diminish any time soon. Pradhan (2009, p.185) states that high street retailers are increasingly realigning their strategies in response to the changes in the market and the prevailing conditions, a fact expected to contribute to the flourishing of the Indian high street in the coming years………………………………………………….