Guildford: Improving the shopping experience

There’s been a lot of talk recently about how to regenerate the UK high street shopping experience. Several large retailers have gone under in the last year alone, leaving gaps in streets up and down the country. Throw in our love for online shopping, and the foot fall in our shopping locations has decreased dramatically in recent.

How do you solve this? The general consensus is to offer what we the consumer want. This includes making shopping more of a social experience. For example, having a good mixture of cafes and restaurants, as well as more non-retail businesses like cinemas. But it also means retailers offering what their customers want.

Yesterday my wife and I went shopping in Guildford, Surrey. We don’t normally head down that way, but we fancied going somewhere different. It’s a lovely historic market town about 30 miles south of London, with atmospheric alley ways full of independent retailers as well as your well known high street brands. There’s even a Norman castle a few minutes walk away.

Whilst walking around we found some interesting items. Some we bought. Others weren’t for sale. Try these for size…

Will they park as neatly as this when they’re ground up?

It’s not uncommon these days for shopping malls to offer transportation for the younger population when out with their parents, but these cars stood out. For a start, they were bigger than normal, and they had a handy shopping bag at the rear. But what made them stand out for me, was the parking bays. Cute.

But cats are more intelligent than dogs!

Elsewhere we found this sign outside a shop. According to the PDSA charity, there are almost nine million dogs in the UK. Guildford is one of those places where there’s more than average. It has something to do with its rural location with stunning scenery, and a plethora of well marked walking routes. So it makes sense to welcome our canine friends with their owners.

Guildford was a pleasant shopping experience. OK a lot of this has to do with its location and wealthy demographic, but it also seems to have started to react to buck the general trend. That is the answer to any problem. The only constant is change. In business, if you don’t change, you’ll eventually go under.

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