Business development · 11 August 2016

London’s independent retailers are most likely to embrace digital

digital marketing landscape
Independent retailers in London are far more likely to have embraced digital marketing and ecommerce

Independent retail owners in London are far more likely to embrace digital technology to beat the competition than those outside the UK capital.

New data gathered by Worldpay has revealed that 95 per cent of London and the South East’s independent business owners actively invest in technology to grow their brand online, compared with a UK average of 88 per cent.

The likelihood of embracing ecommerce platforms and digital marketing tools is also significantly higher among London-based small independent retailers, with 58 per cent revealing plans to do so, as opposed to 44 per cent nationwide.

The number of independent businesses in the capital offering shoppers the chance to pay for goods online as well as in-store is more than double the UK average of 19 per cent, with some 44 per cent now enabling online payment.

Worldpay UK’s managing director Dave Hobday welcomed the progress of smaller retailers in London against a backdrop of turbulent market conditions. “It’s encouraging to see the capital’s businesses leading the nation in technology investment.

“Londoners are fiercely protective of the city’s rich mix of culture, people and shops, with more residents actively seeking out independent stores than anywhere else in the UK.”

Despite many business owners embracing technology, the research also revealed concerns about the broader impact of a so-called digital “revolution” on smaller retailers at the local level.

As many as 57 per cent of small business owners that responded to the survey claimed technology represented “a significant threat” to retailers on the high street. Hobday added: “It’s important for businesses to continue to innovate and see change as an opportunity.”

Recognising the growing challenges faced by local retailers on Britain’s high streets, the government last year established the Future High Streets Forum to share best practices and develop new solutions to help keep local retailers prosperous.

Hodbay cited Wordlpay’s new High Street to iStreet awareness campaign as a tool for local retailers to improve awareness and understanding of how technology can help, rather than hinder, the long-term prospects of their business.

London is now the epicentre of Britain’s micro business boom – Find out how many micro firms the capital has become home to, here

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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