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Shropshire among worst for internet business

Business | Published: | Last Updated:

Retailers in Shropshire are losing out on opportunities presented by the internet, with the county having one of the worst records in the country when it comes taking advantage, a new report claims today.

The UK Digital Influence Index looked into how retailers in 1,300 towns and cities across the UK were using the internet to generate business, and found the county was punching well below its weight.

While Telford and Shrewsbury put in reasonable performances, being ranked 42nd and 64th respectively, the county's smaller towns struggled badly when it came to taking advantage of the opportunities provided. Shropshire's worst performing town was Broseley, which came 1,264th out of 1,300.

The index measures the ability of towns to generate business for their high-street retailers from online sources.

The average position of Shropshire's high streets is 765, putting it firmly in the bottom half of the league table.

The date has been compiled by the What Do You Think, a Government-backed consortium which aims to use the internet to boost Britain's high streets.

Predictably, London is ranked as the most successful city when it comes to taking advantage of the internet, followed by Nottingham, Glasgow and Liverpool. Birmingham was ranked eighth.

What Do You Think encourages shopkeepers and customers to share a photograph each day either of their favourite item of stock, or something they love to see in the shops, and share it across social media websites using the name of the town and the #WDYT hashtag.

Polly Barnfield, chief executive of the web retail specialist Maybe which is heading the What Do You Think campaign, said: “With the increasing culture of online shopping, reviews and research, retail is now a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week experience.

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"The use of digital channels influences 78 per cent of purchase decisions. Embracing these channels can reap significant benefits for both individual retailers and their combined towns and cities.”

The campaign launched in Gloucestershire in last year and has helped the county rise quickly up the rankings, with both Cheltenham and Gloucester now ranked in the top 20 towns and cities in the country for boosting business through social media.

The pilot campaign led to more than 200 retailers and 50,000 customers taking part, and Miss Barnfield said it could be replicated in towns and cities across the country. She said 25 per cent ot the so-called millennial generation consulted social media before making a purchase.

The news came after figures from retail analyst Mintel revealed that one in seven people now did all their grocery shopping online.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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