One solution to the problem of high street retail is for brands to establish partnerships with those high street entities - including restaurants, nightclubs, sports-centres, and so on - which, quite simply, cannot be ousted by online competition.
For example, there is no way (at least not yet) to enjoy a three-course dinner, in a beautiful location with a buzzing atmosphere, from your desktop. To do that, you have to physically go out to a restaurant. What better place, then, to plant your brand via a cross-promotion partnership? By seamlessly integrating your product into the restaurant experience of customers, you not only succeed in gaining attention for your brand; the brand also sticks in the mind of the customer, who will associate the memorable restaurant experience with the brand's presence.
An inspiring case-study of just such a brand partnership is that of Jordan Wines and the London eatery High Timber. Jordan Wines, a winery based in Stellenbosch, South Africa, teamed up with High Timber, situated on the Thames' north bank, in 2009, and their relationship has flourished ever since. Visitors to High Timber are provided with information about Jordan by menus and receive a leaflet with their bill advertising the winery, which is a tourist attraction; in turn, visitors from the winery can enjoy a special tour of High Timber's wine cellar.
This partnership has resulted in a surge of publicity and popularity for Jordan Wines, whose winery, as mentioned, is currently nothing less than a tourist attraction in South Africa. But the important point to note is that this partnership serves as an example of the way cross-promotion allows brands to stand out and become memorable for consumers. An independent Jordan Wines outlet on the high street would almost certainly be far less effective than the integration of Jordan Wines with High Timber.
This is perhaps the future for retailers: recognising which high street entities are irreplaceable, and which also happen to be hubs where memories are forged and kept (in our example, restaurants); and then incorporating one's brand there.