Post written by Daniel Bamford
We’ve heard a lot in recent years about the struggles high street retailers are facing, expenses are rising, and customers are dwindling. this can be attributed to two major factors, the first being changes in consumer spending habits.
According to the office for national statistics online sales grew by 15.9% in the period 2017/18 compared to the previous year. A figure that dwarfs that of in-store spending growth which was recorded at a poultry 2.3%.
With less free time than ever, it seems consumers are opting for the convenience of online shopping. This convenience is manifest not only in the burden less nature of online purchasing (a couple of clicks and your sought after product or service is making its way to you) but also the ability to shop for price that online shopping affords the customer (it is often true that buying online is cheaper than buying instore). Like it or not, web-based business seems to be the medium of the present, and increasingly the future.
But if we could fix those fickle consumers changing habits, we would only have half a solution. Business rates, the bane of every business owner small or large, are increasingly burdonsome in these changing markets.
Business rates in general saw a 3% rise in April, however average rates for department stores was up 26.6 percent and high street shops saw a hike of 10.8%. according to Altus Group. At the same time online retailers saw rates (where they applied) actually fall during the same period.
This is a regional phenomenon however, with certain areas feeling the pinch disproportionately. A list of the highest business rates in the country (by address) sees Manchester appear as 8 out of the top 20 results. And Manchester holds 5 out of the top ten positions of highest business rates by sector (that sector being retail).
These competing stresses are influencing big and small businesses alike, with many ‘brick and mortar’ businesses shutting doors entirely or moving online, question being how? Stock, employees and logistical requirements all demand space, the solution to these demands being self-storage.
A Self-Storage unit is much cheaper than a storefront location and often business rates are included along with utilities. And with the continuing growth of online sales many businesses are failing to see the benefit of maintaining a physical presence at untenable costs. Storage facilities are also usually much more capable of accommodating logistical needs such as receiving shipping containers.
A quintessential example would be north Manchester’s newest storage solution: Storage World Middleton. Offering office space, workshop environments and warehouse services, it is perfectly positioned to serve almost any kind of business. It is storage providers like these which may prove to be a lifeline for many diversifying businesses, as well as the launch pad for innumerable small business ventures.
After all limited starting capital could mean the difference between flying or falling for a fledgling business, as such many entrepreneurs are seeing storage as the way to get a business off the ground.
So, remember, whether you are a large business responding to changing markets, or an ambitious business person with big plans but shallow pockets, don’t put your dreams on the shelf, think outside the box, think storage!
Post written by Daniel Bamford