The result of the changing budget is that business rates have been cut by up to a third for most retail properties for the next two years and a £675 million Future High Streets fund has been set up to help shop owners transform their business.

While this is great news for UK shop owners – both new and existing – it can be tricky to decide just how this extra funding can help benefit your business. Should you move to larger premises or utilise the space that you currently have?

Whatever you decide, ASF can help you to realise your vision, turning your plans into a reality. We’ve transformed hundreds of premises into efficiently-spaced, intelligently-designed retail spaces – and we can transform yours too.

 More about shop fit outs

We know exactly what’s needed to maximise the footfall in your business – we’ve even published a guide on it.

To pick our brains about what can be done to help your business, get in touch, or read on for more ideas about how to transform your retail presence.

First of all, what is the Future High Street Fund?

In a nutshell, the Future High Streets Fund is designed to help pay towards projects which will help bring new life to the British High Street. The government is committed to the regeneration of town centres and want to help business owners to achieve this goal.

A £675 million fund has been set aside so, providing your proposal is likely to bring shoppers back to your corner of the world, you should feel free to dream big.

What can I put the fund towards?

We don’t have to tell you that the UK’s shopping habits are changing. Online shopping has reshaped how buyers are now making purchases. Indeed, between 2007 and 2018 online sales increased six-fold. In 2000 online retailing accounted for less than 1% of retail sales while in August 2018 almost a fifth of all retail sales took place online (Office for National Statistics).

Online shopping is, by-and-large, cheaper and more convenient for most shoppers, so how can the high street compete? Well, to be quite frank, it can’t – but it can offer something else entirely.

Researchers now suggest that shoppers are looking to the high street for something that is simply not available online: the experience. We want local high streets to provide convenience, a sense of community and to add value through services which are offered. In short, the human touch.

So, how can you bring that to your retail outlet? Well, it all depends on your company. If your business has a large off-site warehouse, perhaps you could change up your space to create a tablet seating area for users to shop via your website, with help from your team?

Or, if space allows, perhaps you could open a small café and indoor play area to help parents to better enjoy their shopping experience?

If you sell clothes, you could incorporate a seating area in changing rooms for awaiting friends and partners to use. For shops selling make up, expand your space to include a demonstration area so shoppers can try your wares before they make a purchase.

The possibilities are endless.

Get in touch with ASF now for more ideas about transforming your retail business into something very special indeed.