5 strategies that will help revive the High Street in 2017

Katerina Bukhvostova

Disclaimer: not without the help of retail IoT technologies!

Spring is the time for cleaning, revamping, refreshing, parting ways with familiar but no longer needed objects and thoughts. It’s the time of “plans and projects”, as Leo Tolstoy once said. Unlike in other places, in Finland we wait about 6 months for spring to arrive, take our breath away, and finally let us store our heavy winter clothes away. Without going into too much detail on what a bit of sunlight does to Finnish people (you really need to come and witness one of our spring-summer celebrations, especially with the massive 100-years anniversary taking place this year), I will just say that we take this very short season as an opportunity to recharge our way of life year in and year out.

With this attitude in mind, at Walkbase we do our best to encourage retailers to seize this moment to take a fresh look at how things are going for them. Now is the best time for working out strategies before the summer warmth (and vacation period) hits and diverts attention to other things, followed by the busy times in autumn with the back-to-school craze leading its way up to Christmas sales - the biggest sales period for every retailer.

After looking through a vast array of different approaches and trends, we are of the opinion that the following strategies are going to help High Street retailers excel in 2017:

1.   Focusing on their unique qualities. As advanced and convenient online shopping is for many, there is nothing that can substitute physical presence and engagement. Stressing local, limited time events and promotions in the form of pop-ups, which can be both inspiring and convenient, is the Joker brick-and-mortar retailers should be playing at all times.

2.   Supporting mobile. Let’s not go into the numerical data on the role and importance of mobile phones in our lives. Apart from providing better mobile UX, we’d like to remind retailers about such trends as showrooming, constant price scanning and comparisons on-the-go. The potential to affect how customers are treated in-store (here and now) is there, and retailers have to start taking the advantage of it to stay relevant. Learn more about the power of real-time data here.

3.   Merging with digital. Instead of fighting an imaginary fight with e-commerce, the faster retailers realise that their growth will not decline, the better. Finding and utilising the channels which work best for your customers is the key. There are a lot of studies out there showing that shoppers are very eager to share their personal data if it benefits them. Whether it is digital payments, interactive mirrors (both online and in-store), smart dressing rooms or something else - listen, take notes, analyse and decide what’s best for you.

4.   AI-supported processes. There are already existing use cases of retailers such as Target and Best Buy implementing Artificial Intelligence to aid with routine operations. Specifically programmed robots are used to help with fulfilment, process inventory, prepare orders at a faster pace and consequently smooth out the delivery. Some robots are even installed in-store for providing customers with more information or delivering their orders, making it possible for retailers to be open 24/7.

5.   Smart equipment management. Last but not least, using relevant IoT technologies for monitoring the status of in-store equipment is a smart move as well. Installing sensors for asset tracking, detecting potential issues in advance and getting maintenance alerts can save a lot of time and contribute to a safer environment.


Walkbase provides a retail analytics solution for improving the impact of marketing on physical stores and personalising in-store shopping experience.