Retail business should go online

As towns and cities around Ireland continue to endure a significant drop in sales since the economic downturn hit, retailers are racking their brains for new ideas to revitalise their businesses. It is a situation that is exacerbated by the development of retail parks on the outskirts of many towns, which have drawn shoppers away from town centres, leaving many businesses decimated.

But these woes could be alleviated by the world wide web, according to social media marketing consultant Fiona Ashe. She believes that harnessing the power of the internet will bring customers back to the main streets of towns and cities around Ireland.

“The digital age has brought a fundamental shift in the way we communicate and do business,” she said. “The ‘monologue’ business model of brands presenting passive advertising to potential clients is dead and gone. Now it’s about building communities around your brand, for example through Facebook, and engaging them in an ongoing conversation. This approach increases the chance of retaining new customers that you attract through an event-specific promotion, eg, Valentine’s Day. By keeping them in the conversation throughout the year, you increase the chance of repeat business because, all things being equal, people will buy from others that they know, like, and trust.”

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