"If place-makers don’t recognise and implement solutions to take advantage of this digital revolution, they run the risk of being left in the dark ages."

High Street needs a digital presence, warns Future High Street Summit

This month’s Future High Street Summit in Nottingham will kick off with a session looking at reports and programmes set to push towns and city centres into the digital age.

“Our Future High Street Forum session is the perfect start to the event and really sets the scene for the discussions we’re going to be having throughout the two-day conference,” said Clare Rayner, founder of the Summit.

“We’re hugely excited to be welcoming several leading professionals to the stage and they’ve got some really juicy updates to share with our delegates.

“This year, it’s really important to us that attendees understand how important it is for their High Streets to have a digital presence. We are constantly fed new updates that consistently show the rise of online shopping and digital advances; if place-makers don’t recognise and implement solutions to take advantage of this digital revolution, they run the risk of being left in the dark ages.”

The session will be introduced by Helen Dickinson, director-general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

“The Forum’s work has touched many areas since it was formed, from guidance on issues like local parking strategies to recognising local successes through the Great British High Streets competition and, most recently, considering the revolutionary impact of digital technology," said Dickinson.

“More than £150 billion of retail sales are influenced by digital but only half of small businesses have a website, and just 33 per cent of SMEs are currently online. It’s suggested that digital technology could unlock £18.8 billion of revenue for SMEs as well as reducing their costs by up to 20 per cent, so it’s clear that there is a real opportunity for all players in our High Streets to tap into this potential and secure their place in the future.”

James Roper, chairman and founder of IMRG, will share further details about the Pathfinder Programme and the Digital High Street 2020 report during his keynote at this month’s Future High Street Summit.

“The internet, e-commerce and latterly m-commerce have been embraced by society in our homes, workplaces and schools, but so far digital has hardly touched our High Streets, which are suffering as a result," said Roper.

"Our aim with the Pathfinder Programme is to inform, support and enable high street stakeholders to identify and seize new opportunities both within and beyond retail.

“In the new, complex and fast-changing digital world, you simply don’t know what you don’t know – or what is possible or impracticable – if you don’t share experiences and market intelligence with your peers.”

The Future High Street will be held at Nottingham Conference Centre within Nottingham Trent University on 25th and 26th March. For more information on the event and to see the full agenda, visit the Future High Street Summit website.

Tickets for the conference are on sale now and attendees can sign up at www.futurehighstreet.co.uk/register.

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