Hello High St, nice to meet you, again!

  • Opinion
  • June 4, 2019
  • Jacob Faull
Hello High St, nice to meet you, again!

While digital retail is on the rise, we shouldn’t forget about the social value of high street shopping districts.

The high street has always been a place where people came together to get the things they needed. In days gone by, there would be a grocer, a fish shop, a butcher, a hardware store and a bookstore in most towns and city-fringe suburbs.

My grandparents were shopkeepers. On my father’s side, Phyllis and Wilfred ran a corner store in the Taranaki town of Tikorangi selling everything from gasoline and ham to light bulbs and newspapers. On my Yugoslav mother’s side, Lilli and Nick ran the local fish shop in Sandringham. This was local commerce on the high street at its purest: they were couples in partnership running a business, buying, making and selling products to their community. They were woven into the fabric of their locations and knew most of their customers by name.

Fast forward now to the online landscape, where competition is global. Consumers are offered more choice than ever before, but are no longer participating in local commerce in the way they used to.

As our world becomes more digital and personalised, there is a risk people can end up in isolated bubbles retreating to their residual identities where they are spared any obligation to get on with their neighbours, to socialise and compromise. It creates a sense of individual entitlement that does not have the time or desire to include others. The real opportunity should be how can we engage with others more, when we are forced to see things that are both different to who we are and at the same time accepting it enriches our community.

Over the last 20 years of running Nature Baby in the suburbs of the city fringe in Auckland, we have become more and more interested in the concepts of community around helping people find ways to care about the whole system and how it relates. For us this reaches from the communities and families making our product all the way through to the families we sell to. What we have found is that a connection to things brings a deeper understanding and this understanding brings a sense of empowerment and happiness. This knowledge makes people feel like they have a choice and at the same time they are supporting something locally that is bigger, they belong and they are valued. Our customers are attracted to this at a physical level which they can also dip into online.

What can we do to keep the high street thriving is a question on many economists and city architects’ minds. Theoretically, shoppers could construct a reality where they never have to leave the house and interact with their city, and that would be a shame. There’s huge value in building meaningful human interactions into daily life to create communities. I believe we’ll end up somewhere between the physical and the digital but we have to work a lot harder to see the value of the high street as beacons of togetherness where random difference and happiness are constant.

The beauty of the high street is that it is a community working. But we need to rise to the challenge collectively to see what this new version of a community could be, we need to marinate, innovate and curate the possibilities and we need collaborative support from local councils and government. They need to be sensitive to the issues, otherwise we will face a crisis, a set of houses without a community of shops and services never builds strong societies. So I encourage you as a retailer and a consumer to say hello to your high street again. Meet it down on the corner, walk along its friendly paths, sit under its umbrella of trees, watch others go by and think about what it could be.

Jacob Faull is the founder and director of Nature Baby.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


How do Kiwis do their Christmas shopping at Mighty Ape?

  • News
  • November 20, 2019
How do Kiwis do their Christmas shopping at Mighty Ape?

New Zealand e-tailer Mighty Ape surveyed 2,962 Kiwi shoppers post-Christmas last year. Among its findings are that Black Friday is officially bigger than Boxing Day among its audience, with almost four times as many products were sold on Black Friday compared to Boxing Day 2018. Cyber Monday, the online-only sale that falls on the Monday following Black Friday, has also proven to be popular with Kiwis. It now also outsells Boxing Day at Mighty Ape.​ ​It's presented further findings in a clever infographic.

Read more

Introducing New World's 2019 Christmas ad

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Introducing New World's 2019 Christmas ad

New World and Colenso BBDO have unveiled this year’s Christmas ad, showing the generous Kiwi tradition of inviting every available Tom, Dick and Harry to Christmas lunch, resulting in many mouths to feed.

Read more

Raglan Coconut Yoghurt's Latesha Randall reports back from the US on what's hip and happening

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • Latesha Randall
Raglan Coconut Yoghurt's Latesha Randall reports back from the US on what's hip and happening

Latesha Randall is ​the co-founder of Raglan Coconut Yoghurt, a delicious dairy-free yoghurt born out of a beautiful town two hours south of Auckland. She previously documented the adventures of her company when it was a start-up in a column in Idealog – you can read it here. Recently, Randall traveled to the 2019 Natural Products Expo in Baltimore, USA and observed the food trends that were happening abroad. New Zealand foodies, take note: here, she reports back on what she thinks will be big contenders in the future food space.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Outdoor goods retailers Cactus Outdoor and Kathmandu collaborate

  • News
  • November 19, 2019
  • The Register team
Outdoor goods retailers Cactus Outdoor and Kathmandu collaborate

Two prominent Kiwi outdoor goods retailers, Kathmandu and Cactus Outdoor, have collaborated to produce a line of certified ‘Buy NZ Made’ products which will be launched in Kathmandu stores around New Zealand on Buy NZ Made Day this week.

Read more

Casual brows

  • Opinion
  • November 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Casual brows

As competition hots up between internationals and local brands in the beauty category, NZ Retail and The Register editor and associate publisher Sarah Dunn considers what comes next.

Read more

How New Zealand businesses performed in China’s 11.11 shopping festival

  • News
  • November 15, 2019
  • The Register team
How New Zealand businesses performed in China’s 11.11 shopping festival

This week marked Singles’ Day - a Chinese holiday run by mega-retailer Alibaba that, while still relatively unknown in the western world, is surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday in scale and sales. Alibaba reports it generated US$38.4 billion of gross merchandise volume this year.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit