Digital influence – the value of a high ranking for your town

Do you know where your town ranks in the UK Digital Influence Index?

GFirst LEP recently shared the results of the successful #WDYT campaign with the LEP network, inviting towns to find out where their High Streets rank in the UK Digital Influence Index and the opportunity to take part in the campaign.

The #WDYT campaign in both Cheltenham and Gloucester saw each town feature within the top 12 most digitally active towns in the UK, ranking above significantly larger towns and cities. On the back of these fantastic results the GFirst LEP shared their success and invited other towns and LEPs to participate in the #WDYT campaign. Read on for an excerpt of this letter.

We all know the significance of ‘place’ in current policy thinking and we believe that the success of our high streets is vital in place-shaping and influencing the overall economic success of our LEP geographies.

The pilot addressed three of the key recommendations of the DCLG commissioned 2020 Digital High Street report: Digital Skills, High Street Lab, and High Street Digital Health Index.

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At the start of the pilot we researched the digital output of a wide range of High Streets measuring the online presence of local retailers and the use of social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. It revealed that up to 74% of all High Street retailers have no active social media presence, 50% have no e-commerce facility and 40% have no website at all.

These results suggest that local retailers were not taking up the opportunities created by digital platforms, and analysis of current and future shopping habits all point to the increasing importance of these channels in retail purchases. Research from Deloitte makes it clear that close to 40% of all OFFLINE transactions are influenced by digital communications.

To improve the digital output of local retailers the #WDYT (What do you think?) campaign launched last year prioritising the development of digital skills, knowledge sharing, and the creation of a robust nationwide digital index that covers data from 150K retail locations in 1,300 towns.

To date, the pilot program has helped a number of Gloucestershire towns and over 1,000 retailers significantly increase their digital skills. Both pilot towns of Gloucester and Cheltenham now sit in the 12 most digitally active towns in the country.

Stafford, another pilot town, has risen 93 places to 21st in the Digital Influence Index. They have reported a week on week increase in footfall for the duration of the campaign, with footfall increases of over 22% on data from last year.

This campaign has proven to be a catalyst that encourages High Street businesses to begin or accelerate their digital journey. We are extending our ranking technology to include each retailer within each town.

The outcomes of the #WDYT campaign are clear:

  1. Digital output drives local footfall
  2. Ranking data is a great incentive for improvement
  3. Every town is the sum of its digital parts By increasing digital output, High Streets can reach established or new customers and by working together local retailers can increase their collective and individual influence.

Recent headlines have reported the failure of the “Portas” towns and it is interesting to note that all of these towns have a very low Digital Influence ranking. (See press release).

We are also working with other key organisations like BIRA, ATCM and ACS to raise awareness of the Digital Influence Index and to ensure its place as a key economic and productivity driver that must be invested in. We would like to invite you to be part of this by accessing the freely available Digital Influence Index for each of your towns.

 

Winchcombe jumps 753 places in it’s digital influence

Read about Winchcombe in December's Place Magazine

Winchcombe has seen an enormous rise of 753 places in the Digital Influence Index this year since working with #WDYT.

Winchcombe features in this month's Place MagazineThey have risen 37 places this month and 11 places this week overtaking towns such as Redruth (583) and Droitwich (566) which are much larger towns to a position of 561 out of 1300 towns and cities nationwide.  

Highlights in Winchcombe this month include:

The #WDYT Workshop to help retailers with their social media took place on the 13th November at the White Hart. #WDYT were delighted to welcome along Emporium Gifts and Experience Winchcombe as well as representatives from the museum.

Cotswold BoneDandelion Blue and Banbury Home have been tweeting out some great Christmas ideas, alongside Maybe collections that showcase items in their stores which generated 95 votes and 52 comments, all helping to build their digital brand awareness and footfall to Winchcombe.

#WDYT welcome Winchcombe Flowers to the campaign who have started posting with

On December 6th the #WDYT team took a walkabout on the Winchcombe high street to chat to retailers and address any social media queries. The team explained how joining the campaign will boost the town’s footfall.

More stories like this one from Winchcombe can be found in Place Magazine each month

Stafford’s Digital Ranking remains impressive for a ninth week

Stafford features in Revive & Thrive's Place Magazine

Stafford has maintained its digital influence ranking (23rd out of 1,314 towns) for an impressive ninth week in a row.

Stafford's digital influence is featured in Place MagazineRanking higher than all surrounding towns, such as Cannock, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton, Walsall and Lichfield, Stafford is a major player in the Digital Influence Index. An overall move up of 97 places this year has meant a deserved Top 25 ranking for the town.

The town’s annual Christmas Tree Festival has resulted in 96 local businesses decorating trees that are displayed in St Mary’s Church – a great way to showcase themselves this festive season.

Highlights of the #WDYT campaign in Stafford this fortnight include:

  • The Wardrobe has just run a #WDYT competition to win a Juicy Couture bracelet worth £80
  • Chapters, the new independent bookshop, ran a #WDYT competition to win the Philip Pullman ‘The Book of Dust’ book, bag and poster, which resulted in a 169% increase in Instagram followers
  • Stafford Churches shared posts about organising the annual Christmas Tree Festival in St Mary’s Church
  • Dean Sharpe’s Floral Studio shared how they were placed 1st in the Chelsea Flower Show heats. Congratulations!
  • The Moat Househeld its Wedding Showcase offering a free Top Table for weddings booked in Jan/Feb/March 2019. Other Lewis Partnership venues of The Swan, The Bear Grill, The Dog & Doublet, The Red Lion andThe Bank House have been posting pictures of their delicious seasonal specialsChoose Revive & Thrive for your Business Improvement District Feasibility services
  • Lots of Black Friday deals were shared by various retailers using #WDYT
  • Dourish & Day shared their excitement about the first snow of the season in Stafford
  • Kennys Sports Bar continues to let residents and visitors know about all the major sporting events they are showing on their big screens each day
  • FunkyWunkyDooDahsis thinking ahead to the New Year by offering curtains and blinds at 2017 prices

Shop, eat and enjoy Stafford this festive season – and don’t forget to tell us #WDYT?

More stories like this one from Stafford can be found in Place Magazine each month