A Durham lingerie firm says customer numbers have jumped by twenty per cent after boosting its online operation with superfast broadband.
Annette Keelty, who runs ‘Lingerie by Annette’ from her home in the village of High Shincliffe, near Durham, says she is attracting new clients from all over the world after hooking up her e-commerce website to high speed fibre broadband.
She said: “Since signing up to superfast broadband at the beginning of the year, I’ve seen about a 20 per cent increase in sales. I’ve been able to do a lot more promotion online – uploading videos and using social media, which I couldn’t really do before and that’s really given the business a boost.
“The more activity you do online, the more prominently you get seen on search engines like Google and the easier it is for customers to find you when they’re looking for something specific like lingerie. It helps little businesses like me to compete with the bigger competitors like Marks and Spencer without having to spend big bucks on advertising.”
Annette added: “I have had new customers who are now finding me online, from Germany, Dubai and Ireland but most recently from Russia. They seem to really like the quality of the British lines. It is expensive to stock, but if you have the products in, it does sell and with superfast I can respond quickly to different trends – I can upload a new line and all the product information to my website in seconds. I added a brand called Bluebella when the film 50 Shades of Grey came out as it was featured in the movie, and it sold really well.”
Annette said that having a reliable and fast broadband connection was crucial for the month of December when she sees some of her biggest sales with a 50 per cent jump in purchases.
“Aside from Valentine’s Day, this time of the year is one of the busiest for me. When you’re working from home like me, you need to be able to see the orders as soon as they come in. Before I had fibre I would be worrying that I’d lose my connection and miss my orders.
“About 70 per cent of my business is done online and at this time of year sales are generally up by 50 per cent so a good broadband connection is vital.”
Having fibre broadband means Annette can run everything from home, which includes a personalised fitting service in a purpose built dressing room.
She said: “I have the freedom of being able to run everything from here in Shincliffe, without having to move to city centre premises. Customers love coming here for the personalised service, but at the same time I can reach out to new customers around the world with my internet connection.”
More than 90,000 homes and businesses are now able to connect to faster, fibre broadband thanks to the Digital Durham programme. On average, engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, are switching on 22 new street cabinets and making the new fibre network available to around 4,700 more premises every month in the Digital Durham programme area.
A second phase of fibre roll-out is already planned to begin in July 2016. This will see a further £9 million invested in the programme area. It includes £2.82 million from the Government’s Superfast Extension Programme and £4 million from BT, with the remaining investment split between the local authority partners. An additional 29,000 homes and businesses will benefit as a result. By the end of the roll-out, 97 per cent of premises within the programme area will have access to fibre broadband.
Thousands of homes and businesses across the Digital Durham programme area have ordered fibre broadband and are now enjoying faster broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.
It’s an ‘opt in’ service, but because the Openreach network is ‘open’, residents and businesses wanting to upgrade have a choice of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 companies now operating across the UK.
The Digital Durham broadband programme is delivered by Durham County Council and BT.In total, £34 million has been invested by BT, Durham County Council Government funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and public sector partners in Gateshead, Sunderland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and the Tees Valley
For more information about the Digital Durham programme please visit www.digitaldurham.org
These are the top wholesale speeds available from BT’s local network business Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary