A year after launching, campaign group Save The High Street has teamed up with 20 independent retailers in Barnes, west London, to pilot its recommendations on how to reboot UK high streets as well as drive online growth.
The organisation aims to educate independents by providing free advice on how to grow their online and offline businesses.
Of the 20 shops involved, a quarter are clothing and accessories businesses, including men’s and womenswear boutique Marco Tripoli, womenswear store The Clothesroom and lingerie and swimwear shop Truelove London.
The team has gained support from Richmond and Wandsworth councils on the project. It is evaluating the independents to assess how to improve their business strategies.
By the end of August, it will present its feedback, which the retailers will then apply to their operations. Save The High Street will begin tracking their progress in September.
Marco Tripoli, fashion director at his eponymous boutique, said that three nearby shops had closed recently, adding: “I find it refreshing and rewarding to work with an organisation like Save The High Street to help grow my business. I think it will make a huge difference.”
The organisation has also partnered with Facebook and Google in recent months to develop training for independents on social media and search engine optimisation (SEO).
It will hold its first conference on 25 September and is considering how to widen its offering to include workshops and live-streaming seminars.
Founding partner and community director at Save The High Street Lyndsay King (pictured) told Drapers the group is “hoping to establish the first industry-standard recommendations for the high street”.
She said: “We hope that with our recommendations we can help retailers stay competitive, increase footfall and improve their marketing.”
Marie Truelove, founder at Truelove London, said: “Smaller independents have lacked representation so far, so it’s imperative we have an organisation like Save the High Street. It enables us to get together and voice our opinions and concerns, as well as present our ideas on how to save the high street.”
Meanwhile the group is curating special offers for fashion retailers, including electronic point-of-sale system trials, mannequin discounts and staffing management apps.
Since its launch in August last year, Save the High Street has grown its retailer advisory board membership from six to more than 300 independent businesses.
It published a 10-point manifesto at the time, which set out a vision of high streets that make full use of real-time data, offer best- in-class fulfilment options and connect with customers across channels.