What this town centre has achieved following the very first pop up shop, Bedpop resonates with projects I delivered. With storytelling being an integral part of a town or brand's strategy - Bedford does this incredibly well with the support of the local businesses, stakeholders including the local authority and the quality publications including The Bedford Clanger, Bedford Independent.
As major stakeholders in their towns Local Authorities have come under increasing pressure to support their high streets and invest in property to halt the decline of our town centres. Who better to revitalise and inject a sense of community spirit and take the steps needed to reinvigorate failing high streets?
With a constant stream of retail company voluntary arrangements (CVA's) we have been witnessing recently, changes in leadership goes with the territory which we're seeing as a wider trend too. There is clearly an uncertainty from retailers in terms of how to drive forward a clear brand strategy.
High streets are under going dramatic changes and will continue to evolve in the next decade. Shopping as we know it is changing too and becoming 'experience' driven. We have witnessed this in the last decade with the rise of pop up shops, and more places where you visit to try out new activities that are not always purchase driven - building brand loyalty.
As we move into an uncertain new year for the retail industry, Local Authorites have a vital part to play in supporting our town centres and stakeholders, redefining the customer experience for the local community and visitors - supporting retail with local leadership to tackle the current challenges being experienced by town centres up and down the country.