Retailers need to sell where the customers are. Wind back quite a few centuries and markets would probably have been the predominant shopping channel. As towns built up, the high street came to dominate as a convenient place to shop. Then came the shopping centres.
Some interesting news from Hitwise. Part 3 of their Cyber Week 2017 report showed increased travel purchase activity during Black Friday in November. As we all know, January has traditionally been the peak month for leisure travel sales. With the Christmas and New Year festivities out of the way, consumers get down to some serious bargain hunting and start thinking about their Summer holidays. The travel industry is happy to oblige with heavy spending on advertising and promotions driving customers to our websites, telephone lines and stores.
I organised September’s Travel Technology Initiative conference. It was called Intermediary Futures and was all about what the next few years hold for travel industry players such as tour operators, online and high street travel agents, bedbanks, etc. You can download some of the speakers’ presentations from this page. Intermediaries are middle-men.
I have a confession to make. In 1999, I gave a conference presentation where I foretold the demise of high street retail within 25 years. Here is what I said: “In 2024, consumers buy information products exclusively on-line. When they buy travel, an information product at the point of sale, they do not dream of leaving the home or office to walk into high street retail premises that cannot even physically demonstrate the product, let alone provide any more information than they can access on their net appliances. They look back to the last few years of the Second Millennium and realise that this was the period when the On-Line Era began. They realise that travel, more than any other industry, contributed to a new way of life. They know that, during that exciting period of change, the travel industry showed the world that electronic distribution is the preferred way of retailing.”