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Bricks and mortar stores are shutting at pace. What does it mean for eCommerce in the UK, and how is branded content a part of the mix? We have already seen the effects of consumers tightening their spending, resulting in the downfall of major names on the high street. Can social save the shops?

One of the primary reasons that many high street brands are struggling is due to a failure for bricks-and-mortar retail to keep up with digital expectations. Drab web design and questionable user experiences turned consumers off, and on to other more developed ecommerce propositions, such as Amazon. It’s, sometimes, about more than just price – it’s also about immediacy, seamlessness and simplicity.

So as users increasingly turn to the digital to make purchases of physical items, how can retailers adapt to survive? It’s increasingly less about your core website and more about being present at the perfect purchase moment. In 2019 Instagram will become a shopping platform in itself, with the introduction of a native credit card payment system. Browsing #ootd just became so much more dangerous.

Facebook will be implementing new AR ads, allowing users to virtually try out new products (such as makeup and sunglasses).

And WhatsApp is creating a business platform which will enable brands to respond to customers within 24-hours. In some countries, WhatsApp is already a common form of communication between retailers and consumers.

What does this mean for a waning high street? Brands can learn from the likes of IKEA, Amazon and Alibaba, which have transcended from online to offline experiential stores, designed not to aggressively push sales and stack up products, but to allow people to get hands on and experiment with the brands’ products. This experience encourages consumers to make their purchases online. The tactile high street shop may not quite be dead yet, resuscitated by evolving digital experiences.

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