Independent retailers across Warwickshire are being offered free expert advice on how to grow their businesses out of the Covid-19 recession using social media and other digital tools.
The advice is being offered as part of a £5million package of support from Warwickshire County Council to boost the immediate economic recovery of the county.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is delivering the free online taster sessions and workshops to retailers across the county on behalf of the County Council through the Warwickshire Towns Network Programme.
The programme will be delivered by Stories Marketing and will work with retailers on how they can drive footfall and online traffic to their business using tools such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as being able to accept online payments – even if they don’t have an eCommerce website.
The first taster session will take place on Wednesday, September 23, with a host of further online workshops and 1:1 support available from October through to March 2021.
Leader of the County Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, Councillor Izzi Seccombe, stressed the importance of continuing to safely support businesses in town and village centres during these unprecedented times.
She said: “We have seen some real success stories since we started the programme in 2016, and also through the pandemic lockdown. In this climate of uncertainty, it’s wonderful to see small retailers and high street businesses embracing social media, changing the way they interact with customers and gaining new customers as they do so.
“I would urge retailers to sign up for the workshops, to help improve their business resilience, as well as their town and trading environment.
“As internet shopping and the convenience of out of town retail play an ever-increasing part in serving the needs of consumers, it’s even more vital our town centres provide safe, interesting, social and unique experiences for locals and visitors. This will in turn provide jobs for local people and support the Warwickshire economy.”
Keely Hancox, Operations Manager of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We ran a similar, very successful programme earlier in the year and the feedback we received from everyone who took part was excellent.
“Then, of course, the Coronavirus crisis hit and the need for businesses to have an online presence and strong social media following was brought into even sharper focus.
“Very few businesses have found the last six months easy, but those which have been able to communicate with customers via social media and their website, as well as take payments online, have given themselves a much better opportunity of survival. Some of our previous attendees have quoted that the tips and tools they learnt through the last programme made a significant difference in being able to trade through lockdown. And now, as a result, they are in a much better position to take on board government guidelines and plan their recovery.
“So, we would urge retailers across Warwickshire to make the most of this opportunity to take advantage of the knowledge and experience that Stories Marketing bring to these sessions and see how they can use digital tools to grow their business out of this recession.
“The idea is to complement high street retail rather than replace it, by building online loyalty that can translate into footfall in store as well as offering the facility to sell via the web.”
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce will be delivering the support on behalf of Warwickshire County Council to help drive footfall and support businesses to grow their online sales to independents across the county through the Warwickshire Towns Network Programme.
For more information visit: https://bit.ly/Warwickshire-Digital-Retail-Skills-Training
Pictured: Emma Woodward and Sam Yair of Stories Marketing