altIt’s been another rotten week for the High Street.

Former stalwarts HMV, Jessops and now Blockbuster have all gone into administration.

A decade ago this would have seemed impossible as they were seemingly robust businesses and fixtures in our town centres.

And it is not so much what they have to offer that is no longer wanted by society, but rather how they deliver it.

Our habits of listening to music, watching films and taking and printing photos still exist but the way we get there has been revolutionised by online shopping.

Companies such as Apple, Love Film, and Amazon have had as much to do with the demise of certain street retailers as the recession.

Why would you need to go to a shop to rent out a DVD when you can do it at a click of a button and return it in the post?

This is one area where pubs have an advantage, providing they get it right.

To an extent you can get the same products your favourite pub serves, albeit not necessarily on draught and certainly not on cask. So if people purely go to the pub for drink and food they could opt for a cheaper home alternative, or even order the products online.

However, what you can’t buy at the click of a button, as yet, is atmosphere and friendship.

Now that might sound a little trite but it is the main reason many people go to the pub, for human contact, laughter and companionship (actually there are websites that promises that too, but let’s steer clear of that for now).

Of course, we have seen thousands of pubs go to the wall for a variety of well-documented reasons. But one reason pubs should not have to contend with is that there is a more efficient business model that can offer virtually the same service.

The off-trade and the internet can both offer cheaper booze, but it can’t give you a licensee with personality, a charity pub quiz once a week, a lairy football team who up the energy levels on a Saturday evening or the old boy in the corner who just wants to watch the races and enjoy his pint.

Online trading removes human contact and customer service from the equation – but was anyone going to Blockbuster and Jessops for that anyway?

That is one of the main selling points of the pub and while getting it right does not guarantee a secure future it certainly puts you on a stronger footing that outlets that merely sell food and drink.

Matt Eley is the editor of Inapub. Follow him on Twitter @mattheweley