Cheltenham has made a surprise appearance in the top ten of a list of towns and cities with a strong online presence alongside major high streets like London, Nottingham and Manchester, according to recent statistics.
The Gloucestershire town landed at number eight on The UK Digital Influence Index, ahead of the UK’s second city, Birmingham (nine) and Leeds (ten).
The index measures the digital output of over 1300 towns and cities based on the social media activity of 150,000 retailers.
‘Digital influence’ is the ability of any town or city to drive measurable outcomes from online channels to their high street.
Polly Barnfield OBE, CEO and Founder of Maybe which compiled the index, said: “With the increasing culture of online shopping, reviews and research, retail is now a 24/7 experience. Social media influences 78% of purchase decisions. Embracing these channels can reap significant benefits for both individual retailers and their combined towns and cities.”
It is predicted that by 2020, 80% of retail purchases will still occur offline but close to 50% of these sales will be influenced by a digital interaction prior to purchase.
Despite this, 74% of high street retailers are not currently active on social media while around 40% do not even have a website.
Maybe heads up a collaborative group of businesses working on #WDYT (What Do You Think), a campaign which helps retailers increase their use of social media and digital channels to drive local footfall.
The campaign encourages retailers and shoppers to share a photo each day of something they love across their social media channels, using #[Town] and #WDYT. In the same post, they are also asked to tag in the relevant retailer’s social account handle.
Since February 2017, the campaign has gone live in another seven towns and cities throughout the country. The data collected is being linked with local footfall devices to reveal the impact of digital influence on local footfall.