Online sales present challenge for Glasgow high street shops

Buchanan Street

There is no question that buying things online has become the norm, but there are negatives to being able to get everything from the comfort of your own home. High street retailers are feeling the pressure.

The risk of local stores closing down due to lack of business is the foremost problem, as people generally pick convenience over loyalty to a shop – not to mention the fact that consumers trust large brands that they have heard of, meaning that independent stores can get overlooked. This, unfortunately, leads to more and more shops being shut down. Glasgow is not immune to this, in fact, it appears to be suffering worse than many other parts of Scotland. In 2017, 53 high-street shops were closed down in Glasgow, higher than other cities in Scotland.


As we lead busier lives, we try to cut out unnecessary time wasting, and shopping online can save a lot of time.

It is even happening with pharmacies; take, for example, buying contact lenses online. If you wear daily lenses and need a lot of them, it is much easier to buy them in bulk online than to go into a pharmacy or shop on a regular basis, where there might be queues or they might be sold out. They are also often cheaper; such as the deals on lenses sold on Vision Direct.

Incredibly useful for those who need monthly lenses but don’t necessarily have the time to journey to a physical shop, everything is delivered directly to you, often with a discount. This means, however, that local places can go bust, for example, Lloyds Pharmacy has had to shut 190 stores across the UK due to cuts and lack of business.

The only businesses that seem to still be on the rise in the high street are things that simply aren’t purchasable online. We will always need hairdressers, and convenience stores will always be necessary because you can’t order eggs and milk online and have them come in ten minutes, ready for you to bake a cake or cook dinner. It seems that the commodities we need immediately will still be available on high streets because they are often short-notice, whereas less necessary purchases such as clothes, or things that we want a lot of, such as medication are slowly moving online.

Independent stores maintain their appeal by offering a distinctive experience or products. Places like Monorail (the record store) and Young’s Interesting Books continue to have an edge over online stores.