Digital Skills Gap – The Facts

Following Google’s recent announcement promising free digital skills training to everyone in the UK, and much discussion over the past year about the ‘digital skills gap,’ I thought we’d recap on some of the facts.

Google boss Sundar Pichai announced: “No matter where you live, no matter where you’re from, no matter what your job is – you deserve access to all the information, education, and opportunity the web has to offer.” An extension of Google’s Digital Garage that has been running for the past couple of years to help SMEs and entrepreneurs make the most of digital, the initiate aims to help everyone tackle digital.

Digital Skills for SMEs

Although online tools and resources are more accessible than ever, for small and growing businesses the House of Commons Digital Skills Crisis report found that 49% of SMEs are suffering tech skill gaps in the UK. It also reported that the digital skills gap costs the UK economy around £63bn a year in lost income.

The issue is built on the fact that digital is changing so quickly, constantly. Entrepreneurs are good at what they do, which is why they go into business but keeping up with the ever evolving world of digital, and managing to successfully complete proves difficult for some. Awareness of the tools and support that are out there is one thing, finding the time to learn and develop is another. The rise in popularity of freelance and flexible workers may be a solution to some of the issues, as SMEs are able to draft in experts to work part-time or on a project basis.... Continue reading

Google plans £1bn UK investment

News of Google’s planned HQ in London – which will create 3,000 new jobs by 2020 – comes as a major boost to Britain’s technology sector.

In his first European broadcast interview since his appointment last year, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, told the BBC that the UK was still an attractive place to do business, despite Brexit. He named open borders and free movement for “skilled” workers as integral to the success of the UK tech sector.

Sources at Google added that if issues arose around skilled immigration following Brexit, some of the technology’s company’s investment could be at risk, throwing into question whether it would be able to afford the new building.

Google currently employs around 4,000 people in the UK, but that figure could soon rise to 7,000 as the office space they own in Kings Cross will more than double to 65,000 sq-ft.

Mr Pichai made it clear that the strength of the UK economy went beyond the vote to leave the European Union. “We see big opportunities here” the CEO said. “This is a big commitment from us – we have some of the best talent in the world in the UK and to be able to build great products from here sets us up well for the long term.”

“The innovation we see here, the talent we have available here and how on the cutting edge of technology we are able to be here makes it an incredible place for us to invest,” he said.

“We do value how open and connected it is and we can bring in talent from anywhere in the world and we value those attributes and we are optimistic... Continue reading

Consumers Are Willing To Pay More For Purposeful Brands

Michelle Keaney, partnership director at The Marketing Academy and founder of  Three Point Zero recently wrote an article for Marketing Week about responsible consumption and how consumers are willing to put their money into ‘purposeful brands.’

As we head into the busiest time of year for most e-commerce brands. Research last year from IRI and Boston Consulting Group showed that the growth of brands classed as Responsible Consumption brands has overtaken ‘conventional’ brands. One of the important points is that RC brands are able to charge a higher price – on average 58% more than regular brands.

For years studies and polls have shown that consumers are keen to shop more responsibly, and it seems now the time has come for them to actively do so. This could be down the fact that there’s more choice when it comes to purposeful brands brands, or that they’re now more accessible than ever.

The opportunity for these brands if big. Globescan’s 2016 public radar shows 40% of ‘aspirational consumers’ – the world’s emerging middle class – want to choose brands that “have a clear purpose and act in the best interests of society.” Although apparently consumers struggle to name brands that represent this purpose they look for, some examples are; Toms shoes, Ella’s Kitchen, Tesla, Cook and Method.

The Risk of Becoming Irrelevant

If responsible consumption is important to 40% of the world’s consumers – could brands that ignore RC become irrelevant? Creating wealth for shareholders is one thing, but there are a progressive amount of social capitalists who believe in addressing challenges and change when it comes to business. However, these two... Continue reading

Boosting Online Sales Over the Festive Period

If you’re an e-commerce business the festive period is likely to be an important time of year for sales as 53% of people plan to shop online. Early preparation and planning will help you make a success of the selling online opportunity, during Black Friday, Christmas, and the post-Christmas sales.

Optimising the Festive Opportunity

Less is More – At this time of year people won’t usually be buying for themselves and are often looking for inspiration. Categorising gifts into sections (for him, for her, for bakers, for gardeners, etc) makes it easy for shoppers to navigate to the right area, where you can then provide them with a concise selection of ideal gifts. This should keep things less complicated for you during a busy period too. Market to the Millennials – Setting the pace these days for online shopping, this group expect their online shopping experience to be quick, efficient and mobile. Get it right and they could become a key customer group. Even if your products don’t normally appeal to this generation remember this is gift buying time. Give Last Minute Shoppers an Option – Gift cards are one of the most popular last minute options so make it easy for procrastinators and those who leave things right to the last hour! Delivery will be key to this too – but of course be realistic about what you can offer. Jump on the Trends – Can you incorporate this year’s hottest trends into your products or promotions? Can you highlight and showcase a selection of product that lend themselves to what’s popular right now? Use social media to generate a buzz!

Branching Out with Your Online Selling

Google Shopping – Google shopping saw huge growth in the first quarter... Continue reading