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Norfolk Business Awards 2019

Web workshops to give small business owners tips on competing with online retail giants

PUBLISHED: 11:41 31 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:43 31 January 2019

Sheringham high street.
Photo: Karen Bethell

Sheringham high street. Photo: Karen Bethell

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A north Norfolk town is hoping to fight back against the 'Amazon effect', by launching a series of workshops aimed at teaching small businesses how to raise their online profile and use social media to boost trade.

Sheringham Chamber of Trade and Commerce chairman Andrew Munden, who is appealing to small business owners to take part in a series of IT workshops.
Photo: Karen BethellSheringham Chamber of Trade and Commerce chairman Andrew Munden, who is appealing to small business owners to take part in a series of IT workshops. Photo: Karen Bethell

After meeting with North Norfolk District Council’s economics development team and business development officer Stuart Damonsing to discuss the problems faced by the area’s independent traders, Sheringham Chamber of Trade and Commerce members came up with the idea of offering training covering topics ranging from online marketing and setting up a website, to recruiting staff via Facebook and Twitter.

Chamber of Trade chairman Andrew Munden, who is general manager at the North Norfolk Railway, said small shops and businesses often struggled to find time to monitor and maintain their websites and social media accounts.

Sheringham high street.
Photo: Karen BethellSheringham high street. Photo: Karen Bethell

“The very thing that makes Sheringham unique is its independent retailers,” he added. “But it is a constant battle against the march of online shopping and if we are going to beat the big retailers, then we need to be able to understand e-commerce.

“In a town like ours, we recognise that while many people aspire to increase their online presence, it can be a time-consuming part of running a business, especially for sole traders.”

A questionnaire has been sent out to Sheringham business owners, as well as to traders in surrounding villages including Bodham, West Runton, Weybourne and Gresham, and Chamber of Trade members are hoping more people will complete this online.

“What we want to do is to try to gauge what level of IT usage there is and see if there are areas where there is greater need, so that we can tailor the workshops to what people want,” Mr Munden said.

The workshops, which will be run by specialist trainers, will be held in Sheringham over a series of evenings and it is hoped that Cromer traders will also get involved.

“Some business owners are very switched-on to IT, but others either want to be, but don’t have the skills, or have no idea at all, and I think using the internet is the only way our high streets are going to survive,” Mr Munden said.

To take part in the survey, visit www.experiencesheringham.co.uk/nndc-survey

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