March 26, 2019

Google to Help UK High Streets Develop Digital Channels

Can the Google Digital Garage help UK high streets with digital development?

Google’s external training organisation, the Google Digital Garage, is returning to the UK in may to help high street retailers learn the skills they may need to evolve.

Hot on the heels of recent concern for the future of the high street, they’re working with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.

Free education will be available for local businesses in 15 of the UK’s high streets. This training will include bespoke training schemes and face-to-face mentorship programs.

Preparing for Digital Britain

The Digital Garage launched in 2015 and has visited over 500 villages, towns, and cities so far, helping over 300,000 to improve their digital skills.

“Despite the ongoing uncertainty posed by Brexit,” says Ronan Harris, Google’s Managing Director of UK and Ireland, “we want to show businesses on high streets how digital skills can help them to thrive, not just as a place for commerce, but also as a cultural centrepiece of the communities they serve.”

The Future of Retail

It’s certainly true that high street shops, especially those that aren’t chains, become a part of the cultural life of their community. That’s always been part of their appeal. It might be a hardware store where brown overcoats are the uniform and the store owner’s advice is the only product you get for free, or a local café that becomes the centre of the town’s morning.

These ‘cultural centres’ make it because of the people behind them. With enthusiasm, knowledge, or a passion combining both, they have something beyond the competition. And that something could be a major selling point online.

We’ve all heard friends speak in glowing tones about a shop where they were told their expensive item of choice wasn’t the best option; instead, try this cheaper item that does the same job. It’s that kind of care for the customer that helps high street shops and online retailers alike to thrive.