Barnsley climbs up 18 places on UK Digital Influence Index as ShopAppy towns outperform other UK towns

Barnsley has been shown to be increasing its digital influence – well above the UK average.

Barnsley, which launched ShopAppy in July, has improved their ranking significantly, which has resulted in thousands of visitors viewing retailers on the new website.

The data on digital influence were measured from February until October to identify increases and decreases in digital influence. In spite of the mean average change across the whole of the UK being dropping two places, Barnsley moved up 18 places from 115th place to 96th in the UK for digital influence out of over 1,300 towns. ‘Digital influence’ is any town or city’s ability to be found by consumers looking online and encouraging them to come into their high street or business instead of going elsewhere. The UK Digital Influence Index monitors every retailer in over 1,300 towns across the UK by monitoring their online presence and social media engagement rates. It is has been developed by the National High Street campaign #WDYT (What do you Think?).

Trend experts predict that by 2020, 80% of retail purchases will still occur offline, but close to half of these sales, which represents over $6trillion in sales globally, will be affected by digital influence.

Digital influence is key to helping people make a decision to go into their local high streets and markets. It’s been proven that increasing digital influence drives local footfall. Stafford, who have risen 91 places in the UK Digital Influence Index over the past 6 months, have seen a corresponding increase in their footfall weekly by up to 22%. Currently 9 ShopAppy towns have an estimated additional footfall of over 1300 customers, with one business owner alone reporting an additional 188 customers in their shops, just three weeks after launch.

ShopAppy provides a single shop window for any town. It means every retailer, shop or stall can have a website for a fraction of the cost, and it creates a convenient way for shoppers to browse them in one place.

Building on the success of these increases in digital influence, ShopAppy is working with the #WDYT (What do you think?) campaign, who have developed the Digital Influence Index, to help retailers increase their use of social media to get people talking about products and local shops.

Polly Barnfield, OBE, Founder of the #WDYT Campaign says: “It’s great to be working with ShopAppy. We share a common goal which is to see High Streets across the UK accelerate their digital evolution. We know that towns which increase their ability to reach customers through digital channels also see rising footfall.”

In the first week of trialling the new integration Chez Shamwari in Saltaire trended on Twitter with 357 retweets and 15,000 impressions. With that kind of increase, the combination of online presence and digital influence scores are likely to increase still further as ShopAppy rolls out the initiative.

Dr Jackie Mulligan, Founder of ShopAppy.com adds “To survive and be sustainable, local towns need to reach out to their digital customers, this integration and collaboration with the #WDYT campaign means we are going to be able to achieve far more for shopping districts, towns and villages across the UK driving customers to our collective online shop windows in towns and then into shops themselves.”

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