What will the High Street of the future look like? And how will we shop in it?

Author - Oosoom, WikiCommons
Author – Oosoom, WikiCommons

The decline in High Street shopping has been one of the big recent retail developments.
Increasingly, we’re doing our shopping online – something which really threatens to change the look and nature of our towns and cities.
It sometimes seems as if the High Street of the future may look pretty empty.

And if these changes are affecting the High Street shops – what about the oldest shopping experience of all – the Market? How will these developments affect places like Leeds’ Kirkgate Market?

Well, Leeds Labour Council has invested thought and money in this question.
And there may be some very innovative answers on the way.

In collaboration with Leeds Metropolitan University, the Council has set up a project to explore whether people would shop in Kirkgate Market – online.

Stage one will involve a 3D mock-up – a sort of computer game – where online test shoppers will be able to meet traders, look at what’s available – and buy.
The final aim would be to produce a ‘virtual’ Kirkgate Market, that we’d be able to walk through and shop in online – then ‘click and collect’, perhaps even out of normal Market hours.

The whole scheme is part of a Small Business Research Initiative competition.
And the aim is to keep the Market abreast of new shopping patterns and habits.

This is an imaginative way of considering how to keep the Market up-to-date with changing trends.
Offering the value and quality of the Market in new ways.
But it sits alongside the Council’s huge investment in Kirkgate Market – with its £12.3 million refurbishment.
You’ll still be able to walk round, shop in and enjoy one of the best surviving Victorian markets.
In fact visiting the virtual Market should encourage even more people to use the real one.

Sounds like win win to us.

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