The Changing High Street
The Bill Grimsey Review, along with the much publicised Portas Review has got people talking about the future of local high streets and town centres with a view to the future.
The Grimsey Review particularly talks optimistically about the scope of new digital technologies ranging from personalised deals, facial recognition based payment and more in fully networked environments. And more than that, the review discusses a timetable to make all this happen. There is also a lot of discussion about the role of leisure rather than traditional retail in the town centre. As we have also noticed, there is a lot of scope for using digital tech to enhance both, for example at the more basic end of using a service like Pin It and review sites to share interesting items, and this would especially benefit the small specialist boutique stores and also could raise awareness of public events.
But the Grimsey Review includes some real blue sky thinking – libraries could be given 3D printers and equipped with co-working spaces, and stores can give offers to local regulars which upload to their phone which occurs when they are near by. The scope at the more practical end includes online booking at hairdressers and making home delivery, stock control and parking more efficient.
Part of the proposed timetable is to digitally profile every town centre and ensure continuous Wi-Fi access, free parking and affordable shop space.
Sounds like a breath of fresh air.