Wooler firm's digital efforts are recognised

A Wooler shop which relies heavily on internet trade is to be featured by a nationwide campaign raising awareness of the benefits of greater digital engagement.

Thursday, 10th March 2016, 08:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 08:38 am
Allison Wright of Gear for Girls

Gear for Girls, the women’s outdoor clothing and equipment shop owned by Allison Wright, is one of a series of small businesses being showcased by Do It Digital, an independent, not-for-profit campaign.

“Around 90% of our sales are now online and as a local employer, I’m sure atleast one of my staff would have moved away without a job here,” said Allison. “Without being able to access a wider market for selling online, we just wouldn’t exist.”

But for Gear for Girls, digital engagement is about more than just sales and marketing.

“We do HMRC and tax returns online and the next stage is to put our accounts online,” said Allison. “Just about everything we do on the sales side of the business is fully online; our website is managed in the ‘cloud’, as is the stock handling system. It’s great from a security point of view that everything is backed up, up-to-date and accessible. There are no headaches of losing data or something going wrong as it’s all there and can be shared and accessed from home or wherever I am.”

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The campaign aims to help the digitally un-engaged take their first steps online while promoting opportunities for those already online to engage further. The focus of the first 100 Days of Digital will be to highlight opportunities in the real world and online.

Alison’s advice is: “Don’t be afraid of it; educate yourself. With sites like Codecademy you can even learn how to code. It’s great to be able to make hands-on changes to your website and not rely on someone else to do that for you. There are plenty of online courses available to learn these skills. You really can change something overnight with a small business.”

According to a report commissioned last year by domain hosts GoDaddy, 60 per cent of businesses with five employees or less are not digitally engaged.

The Do It Digital initiative will positively promote the benefits of digital engagement for small businesses, from having a simple web presence to taking the first steps towards selling online. The campaign says that digital engagement is crucial for all aspects of business, from marketing and recruitment to banking and accounting, and is only likely to become more so. Digital engagement will become increasingly central to the development of competitive, profitable and growing businesses.