TOO little, too late? Google rushes to help struggling UK high street

WATCHING the UK High Street apparently ‘closing down’ is painful to watch. Many struggle with the transformation and change required – the restructuring and ‘digital re-engineering’. And this isn’t helped by insufficient online skills and experience in the workforce.

Google is taking more public steps just now to recognise the importance of offline ‘brick + mortar’ shopping. A sceptic might suggest they are trying to compete against Amazon’s online shopping dominance – but Google has updated its Google Shopping platform after its research showed that out of every 100 people who buy consumer goods, 80 go to physical shops in retail venues, out-of-town or ‘in the city’.

New features on Google Shopping:

  • Allow retailers to list nearby stores on YouTube which could increase click-through rates more than 15 per cent.
  • Launched “See What’s In Store” promotion inventory to let retailers better showcase products on their search knowledge panel.
  • Established local catalogue advertisement to show in-store availability and detailed pricing.

Arguably it would also help if the Government was better at digital. Our erratic UK / EU political process doesn’t seem flexible or helpful enough.

As a key issue, there probably needs to be broad national focus on ‘global competition’. Rashes of cookie notices make sites in the EU and UK often unusable, while business rates on the high street are often shown to be too high – but ministers fail to act, seemingly clueless, the man on the Clapham omnibus could very easily conslude.

‘UK plc’ and ‘UK Digital plc’ are under severe commercial pressure, particularly the offline retail sector. Retailers look to be in daily acute + chronic long-term suffering – causing much stress (and bad health no doubt).

Strong, proactive, planned transformational action is needed in board rooms across the land, or tragically some board rooms, with hard-working people, will be no more.

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