The 4th December was the busiest online shopping day before Christmas with an estimated £183 million pounds spent online – 40% higher than last year according to the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG). Yet North East retailers missed out on their share of these lucrative sales because customers can’t find them online.
According to the European Advertising Association the top 10 UK products bought online are travel tickets, holidays, books, theatre and cinema tickets, electrical goods, concert and festival tickets, CDs, insurance, clothes and DVDs.
However, research conducted by Business Development Agency, The North East Regional Portal, found that the presence of North East retailers is almost non-existent when using search engines like Google and Yahoo to find the most popular items bought online.
Regional Portal SEO Consultant Pascal Fintoni explains: “Currently the internet is dominated by national brands and high street stores as well as price comparison websites. The presence of North East-based independent retailers and businesses is almost non-existent and we must change this.
“With over 80% of all UK online users turning to search engines as a first port of call to find information, North East businesses must make themselves more visible online to net their share of the £19.2 billion market.
“Businesses have spent thousands of pounds creating their websites so it is vital that they are easily found online – what’s the point in having a website if nobody can find it?
“The way forward is for businesses to invest in search engine optimisation, online PR and ongoing internet marketing as part of an overall sales and marketing strategy.”
Over the past 12 months the Regional Portal has helped over 100 businesses understand and adopt search engine optimisation through training days and consultation work.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Pascal, “in 2007 we will launch a campaign to make North East firms more visible on the internet. We want to see the North East of England represented online and ensure that retailers and businesses are easily found by online shoppers on a global scale.”