Expressly have partnered with the Save the High Street movement and together they aim to help independent high street businesses embrace digital tools so that they remain competitive in the years to come.

The movement is pledging independent high street businesses to both catch up and grow with the digital shift. Many independent businesses on the high street may be up to date with digital trends but some may have hidden away from them for fear of change or complication. Expressly have put together five simple things which any small high street retailer could implement today to get up to date with the digital shift:

1. Facebook

Setting up Facebook is straightforward and intuitive. Small Businesses can create a business page so that they can interact with their customers and reach out to new ones. Businesses can list their opening hours, address and phone number. Once comfortable with using Facebook other social media websites such as Twitter can also be useful for engaging customers. Remember that social media is not only a great way to advertise, but it also builds credibility and personality to which consumers can relate.

2. Website

Making a website is more straightforward than ever before; you no longer need any knowledge of HTML as there are lots of services out there like GoDaddy, Wix and Squarespace which allow you to simply fill in templates. A website is a great way for those who do not use social media to find a business and a must if you want to be present on Google.

3. Add e-commerce

The shift to online shopping is growing year on year, where many customers value physical stores there is a growing demand to be able to purchase 24/7 without visiting a shop. Most website building services will include the option to add e-commerce capability which is a straightforward process (we recommend Magento!).

This means that customers who move away or are strapped for time can support businesses both on the high street and online. Better still, the website could even be linked to other high street stores’ websites so you can offer special deals to those who support high street businesses, and you could help the store next door too.

4. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is an exceptionally popular form of messaging and is many peoples go-to way of communicating via smartphone. This makes the App an invaluable tool for being able to quickly communicate with customers, take orders, and answer any questions they may have. Enter new customer service, easier and more accessible than ever.

5. Get Visual!

Instagram is a great way to share photos of your store, stock and anything that inspires you and your audience. Brands from small to global build their brand by sharing photos with their followers. Many brands expand their reach by running competitions, perhaps by urging followers to share their photos, comment and contribute.

Further reading on the digital shift