Member Article

Brighton’s independent retailers losing business by ignoring digital opportunities

• 80 percent of local independent retailers are not trading online • 84 percent of local independent retailers websites have not been built with mobile phone devices in mind • 39 percent of local independent retailers have not had any ‘social shares’ on both Facebook and Twitter

Brighton’s thriving digital sector is failing to have an impact on local independent retailers who are struggling to embrace digital technologies leading to missed sales opportunities.

In a new study from thomsonlocal’s business data, the Brighton Digital Cities – Retail Report used data from their independent retailers, to look at the main digital elements that help boost online retailer’s sales and brand presence on social sites. The UK’s local marketing company analysed 1,867 businesses that had a BN postcode.

This includes whether retailer’s websites offer an option to purchase directly from their sites, if the website is designed to be viewed on any mobile device and how often the website has been shared on social media sites.

Results found that a staggering 80 percent of websites reviewed did not offer their customers the option to purchase directly from their site. With an average person in the UK now spending over £1000 a year online [1], Brighton’s independent retailers are really missing out on valuable sales opportunities.

Local independent jewellery retailer, Posh Totty, is a shining example of a business who has embraced digital customer experience. Their site utilises professional photography to showcase their jewellery collections, they offer customers the option to browse the site as a guest instead of logging in as a regular – a great way to decrease customers abandoning their virtual shopping cart.

An area overlooked by local independent retailers is mobile devices, only 16 percent of the sites analysed have been built with them in mind. Recent studies have shown that around 70 percent of the UK population own smartphones and that 50 percent of those people make purchases with their phones [2]. This is an area that Brighton’s independent retailers cannot afford to ignore.

Choccywoccydoodah, Brighton’s famous chocolaterie, is a great example of a retailer seeing the potential in offering a seamless user experience to mobile users.

Jane Byrne, Head of Marketing for thomsonlocal Data Division, comments “Our latest research shows Brighton’s independent retailers are missing out on huge sales potential. Digital engagement is crucial for retailers as it offers opportunities for new business. With the retail sector under pressure from uncertainty and falling sales, local retailers cannot afford to ignore their customer’s digital experience.”

thomsonlocal also looked at how often local retailer’s websites had been shared across the UK’s most popular two social media sites – Facebook and Twitter. Results showed that there is much room for improvement for online retail businesses in Brighton to increase their presence on these social media sites.

Being talked about on social media not only drives traffic directly to their websites but will also increase brand awareness with customers throughout the UK. It is encouraging to see that 61 percent of online retailers in Brighton have had social shares on both Facebook and Twitter.

The research shows that local retailer websites who’s sites work on mobile devices and offer a direct sales option to their customers, have more social shares. Only four percent of the sites reviewed had websites with both mobile and e-commerce capabilities and unsurprisingly these sites had a much higher than average number of social shares.

thomsonlocal’s study found that on average sites had 23 Facebook Likes and seven Tweets but those sites with e-commerce and mobile designs had on average 61 Likes and 27 Tweets, a considerable improvement.

When it comes to Brighton retail businesses and social media, fashion retailer Peggs & son, is leading the way. They have accumulated over 10,000 fans on Facebook and over 2,400 followers on Twitter. They regularly use social media to run competitions, promote new products, and answer customer questions.

Brighton, considered by the Government as a major tech city, is home to over 2,500[3] digital and technology companies, the biggest cluster per head in the country. There is also a high-level of residential use with over 80 percent [4] of homes having a fixed broadband connection, the highest level in the country. With statistics like this Brighton’s local retailers are failing to tap into experience and opportunities right on their doorstep, they must move fast to keep ahead with the needs of their customers. -Ends-

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Emma .

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