I believe we are at a digital tipping point. It is happening in slow motion as we speak but when we look back it will appear as though it took place in the blink of an eye.
The tipping point I am referring to is the death of traditional high street players in the face of an online onslaught. Take a look at my four examples below to see how this is playing out and how it is now at a stage of no return:
1. Retailers – Under pressure from the mass movement to online shopping and faced with larger overheads more high street shops are closing. This in turn makes the average high street a less appealing place to visit and therefore more people move online. This then results in further economies of scale for online retailers and they attract more traffic AND more shops close.
2. Banks – Online lenders such as Zopa are stealing vast market share through innovative credit worthiness tests and low rates. Banks cannot compete due to expensive overheads (and a host of other well publicised issues) so they are lowering their high street presence. This is resulting in more people using online solutions which in turn is resulting in the online portals such as Zopa being able to offer even better rates and attract more share from the high street.
3. Book shops – Under immense pressure from Amazon more shops are closing resulting in more Kindles being bought. This in turn means fewer footfalls for book shops and more will close.
4. Estate agents – They are under pressure from online only portals that charge less commission. This means the high street players are working on smaller margins with larger overheads. More of them are moving to an online only presence which will see the high streets importance in the property market diminish.
It is a repetitve and obvious story. The high street is in the throes of an insurmountable challenge and will need to adapt to survive.