Sam Yair (left) with Emma Woodward

Member Article

New Year support programme announced for independent retailers in Warwickshire

Independent retailers across Warwickshire will be given top tips on how to attract more customers when a new support programme starts in the New Year.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce will be delivering the support on behalf of Warwickshire County Council to help drive footfall to independents across the county through the Warwickshire Towns Network Programme.

Business owners will be given advice on how to use social media to tell their stories, how to create more of a shopping experience to counter the functionality of online retail and how to build better networks in their local area.

Local company, Stories Marketing – which has a background in retail and expertise in social media – will deliver a series of workshops across the county, starting in January.

The announcement of the support comes just days before Small Business Saturday, which is a national campaign to inspire and promote smaller businesses.

Emma Woodward and Sam Yair established Stories Marketing after 15 years in retail, running successful women’s fashion chain – Aspire Style – in Warwick, Solihull, Stratford, Oxford and Coventry.

And their experience and expertise will now be passed on to independent retailers across the region.

Emma said: “There is no doubting that the high street is going through a very tough period but for independent retailers it is all about how to adapt, being creative, and thinking differently in order to drive footfall and increase sales’ “Our workshops will go beyond the technology of social media and will help businesses to develop an online personality and brand – even in this modern age people still want to buy from people.

“By showing off personality, you can build a following in a much better way than trying to sell, sell, sell when you are online.

“Independent retailers can inject more personality into their online presence and can offer a shopping experience for their customers and the two can feed off one another.

“That will be part of what we will be working on during the workshops. But also in how we bring independents together both online and offline in order to be able to offer an even greater experience to customers. By working together it really can make a difference to your bottom line, but also more widely drive footfall into a town, creating a destination and a fantastic shopping experience.

Aaron Corsi, from Warwickshire County Council, said: “We are excited to be commissioning the Digital Skills for retailers and high street businesses for the fourth year running.

“We have seen some real success stories since we started the programme in 2016. It is wonderful to see small retailers and high street businesses embracing social media, gaining new customers and changing the way they interact with customers and supporting the local economy.”

Keely Hancox, Operations Manager of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are very pleased to be working with the Warwickshire Towns Network to deliver this much needed support to independent retailers across the county.

“Everyone wants to see a thriving high street, with a range of independent retailers who make their towns unique. The workshops and support offered through this project will form a key part of Warwickshire’s success.

“It’s great that we are able to work with Stories Marketing to deliver this support, having run a successful chain of independents they have trialled and tested lots of ideas, and have seen first hand what has made the biggest impact in terms of footfall and sales’.”

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

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