Swansea retailers go digital to fight challenging high street environment

Most new independent retailers in Swansea city centre are using digital channels to retain and recruit customers – helping them face many of the challenges city centre shops experience.

Russell Greenslade, Chief Executive of Swansea Business Improvement District (Swansea BID), said that the majority of the approximately 60 independent businesses Swansea BID has supported in opening in the city centre in the past 18 months have a very strong digital channel presence.

“This is backed with intelligence and data, which they use very well to retain existing and recruit new customers,” he said.

Swansea Business Improvement District (Swansea BID) has been announced as the sponsor for the development and investment zone at this year’s Swansea Conference, where one of the key themes will be the plight of independent retail and how to ensure businesses thrive in a changing world.

“The strength of the independent business is being nimble enough to respond to trends and situations with instant decision capability,” said Greenslade. “They can be better placed to find their niche, innovate, have more power over profitability, provide a personalised experience, and be their own boss.

“As businesses, we operate in different and more challenging environments since bouncing back from a global pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis. The challenges include staying relevant as customers evolve, embracing online shopping and harnessing the power of digital to help overcome challenges. Using technology to analyse our customer data, we can adapt accordingly to put customers first and use digital, data, technology and the intelligence they provide to improve the experience and anticipate customer needs enabling business growth.”

He added that while Swansea BID provides practical support for businesses in the City centre improving the trading environment outside their business and provides help, advice and guidance on grants and other business support, the success of our businesses depends on customers coming back time and time again after having good customer service and a positive experience.

“Foot flow and spend are businesses’ lifeblood, so it’s quite simple – people need to use them a lot more, or they could lose them,” he said.

Commenting on how the Swansea Conference will address the plight of independent retail, Dawn Lyle, founder, and chair of 4theRegion, which organises the conference, said:

“Swansea city centre has a great deal to offer – it’s the heart of the city, and Swansea BID is helping retailers to adapt and survive in the face of changing shopping habits and the cost-of-living crisis. We’re delighted to have them as sponsors for the development and investment zone at this year’s Swansea Conference, where one of the key topics will be how to create a bright future for Swansea businesses.”

Anyone interested in exhibiting at the Swansea Conference can contact Zoe Antrobus: zoe@4theregion.org.uk

Further information can be found here: https://www.4theregion.org.uk/swansea-city-centre-conference-2023/

You can book tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/507366716507