Category: Expert Opinion

Local towns rank higher than major cities for digital influence

This success is due to the #WDYT campaign, which helps businesses increase the use of digital channels to encourage more customers to visit their store.

Introducing Polly Barnfield OBE Founder and CEO of Maybe*

Maybe* eliminates the gap between how shoppers want to shop and how retailers are able to serve them. The #WDYT campaign helps towns and retailers drive footfall to UK high streets. In 2012, Polly was awarded an OBE for services to philanthropy.

The #WDYT campaign has already helped over 1,000 businesses in nine Gloucestershire towns significantly increase their digital activity, and has delivered an increase in local footfall by over 22% weekly. The tools and campaign are now available for towns and retailers across the UK to assist them in increasing digital influence, national footfall and sales.

Success is measured by the UK Digital Influence Index, which ranks more than 1,300 towns and cities, based on retailers’ activity across their social media channels. Since the launch of the Index a year ago, Gloucester and Cheltenham have established themselves in the top 20 of the UK Digital Influence Index alongside London and Edinburgh.

Importantly, market towns like Stroud and Tewkesbury are also seeing phenomenal rises in digital activity. Both towns have increased their digital activity significantly and now sit within the top 100 towns in the UK for digital influence above significantly larger towns like Swansea and Stockport.

In participating towns, there have been increases in footfall of up to 22%, which has been directly linked to the #WDYT campaign. This is a result of a doubling in the number of businesses using social media, which has also led to significant and improved digital rankings in the Digital Influence Index.

By 2020, 80% of retail will still be offline, but close to 50% will be determined by what you see online through various digital challenges.

The problem that many towns and cities have is that up to 74% of retailers are not using digital media to drive local footfall. Every town in the UK is the sum of its digital parts, and places that don’t embrace digital channels face an uncertain future.

Polly Barnfield OBE, CEO and founder of the #WDYT campaign said: “We see a clear link between digital activity and physical footfall. Shoppers increasingly start their journey online. Every town and city in the UK is a sum of its digital parts. From what we see, it’s key that businesses become more proactive on social media. That is frequently the start of their digital journey.”

Contact Polly Barnfield, OBE for more information by emailing, or call 0800 0614 214.