Is the high street losing because their customer is haggling without them even realising it?

You’re in a shop you’ve tried on a t-shirt. It’s slightly expensive. Do you really want or need it? What if you could get it cheaper? Would that change your mind?

What most people do is pull their phone out and in less than a minute they’ve found it on sale for half the price on a competitors website. Two minutes later they’ve bought it, it’s getting delivered tomorrow and they have saved themselves some money. They hand the t-shirt back to the member of staff and walk out of the shop without a purchase.

The pure-play site can haggle because they have low overheads and a solid returns policy. The high street shop, on the other hand, has lost another customer and is now struggling to make ends meet because this is happening in every one of their 150 stores nationwide. All because they didn’t even realise they were even haggling. To add insult to injury their overheads are through the roof.

If you were given a chance to haggle in-store, would you? It would be a bit awkward arguing down the price of a Ralph Lauren shirt in Selfridges. ‘I’ll give you a tenner’. (Cue Life of Brian, scene)

In my opinion, a key issue in the demise in bricks and mortar retail is that high street stores are losing customers from their inability to haggle, or by even knowing they are in a race to the bottom.

If they did know, would they be able to compete? I’ll leave that one with you.