With more people buying clothes online and local businesses struggling to survive, a group of Wexford retailers have come together to help promote shopping in the town.
Co-ordinated by Suzie McDonald, of the Zip Yard Wexford, the night featured a guest appearance by social media expert, Aoife Dunne. And, having assessed one another's online activity, and shared their considerable knowledge and experience, the retailers hit upon a novel way of interacting with social media audiences.
'We realised that if we were all using the same hashtag we could all be all linked back to somewhere and the consumer could see what all the different shops have. So, we created the #ShopinWexford hashtag. If you follow it on Instagram you can see what Fitzgerald's have, what Si Jolie have, all the clothes retailers,' said Suzie.
A proud Wexford woman, Suzie says she is constantly looking at ways to promote the town, sharing local content on her social media accounts and nurturing strong ties with her fellow business-owners. And she believes a strong social media presence is of paramount importance for local stores as they continue to combat the threat of online shopping.
'The reality is people can sit in and shop anytime, and by the time they get into town at nine o clock they've spent all their money. I do believe that local people want to shop local but the temptation is there for them all the time online.'
Encouraging those interested in shopping locally to follow the #ShopinWexford on Instagram, Suzie said that local stores offer the kind of customer experience that simply cannot be got online. 'The level of service here is second to none, it's just a matter of getting the footfall in the town.'