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Tuning up the High Street engine with Digital Garage

FSB is continuing its partnership with Google to bring much needed digital skills to High Street businesses. A key stop on the High Streets tour this summer was sunny Eastbourne on the south east coast of Sussex.


The Google trainers were greeted by MP, Stephen Lloyd (left) and FSB member, David Plummer (right), who co-owns Buzzing Bee Media, in the town. Both introduced the training which was held at the View Hotel overlooking the English Channel.

They emphasised the importance of digital skills to running a business, especially in the highly competitive retail sector. David Plummer said that whilst tens of thousands of small businesses already engage with shoppers online, research shows that whilst 94% of adults carry smartphones, as many as three quarters of high street shops have no social media presence.

The workshop set about addressing the quickly-acquired skills which can enable businesses to broaden their activities beyond the front doors of the High Street and onto the screens of consumers. Sessions included effective search engine optimisation, techniques for e-mail marketing campaigns, targeted strategies for social media and how to generate exciting on-line customer content. 

In addition to the free workshops providing small businesses with a wide range of digital skills, the Google Digital Garage tour aims to inspire the rebirth of our high streets and a brighter future for our towns. FSB, along with other business and civic stakeholders, including Councils like Eastbourne’s, are re-writing the script in the face of gloomy stories signalling decline. “Whilst on-line shopping is a competitive factor in the market, bricks and mortar shops can use the digital environment to their advantage,” said Martin Searle, Development Manager for FSB in Sussex. He added, ”Nowadays a strong collaborative effort is needed to bring customers into town – to be entertained, to socialise, to relax, for health, learning and, of course, to shop, perhaps for enticing offers they have seen on-line.” 

At the event and on social media, David Plummer thanked MP Stephen Lloyd for working hard behind the scenes to bring the Google workshops to Eastbourne. Next stops on the Google Garage High Streets Tour are Darwen, Cheadle and Sheffield!