Igniting Digital Fire in Saint Lucia Exporters and Manufacturers

“Ignite the Digital Fire in exporters and manufacturers” was the charge heralded by Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) Information Officer, Mr Glenfield Gilbert to speakers and presenters at last month’s Digital Marketing Symposium. Jointly hosted by TEPA and the Saint Lucia ICT Association (SLICTA) on November 28th at the Golden Palm Conference Room in Rodney Bay, the Digital Marketing Symposium formed an official part of November’s Business Month 2016 activities.

Held for a second consecutive year, the symposium aimed to edify exporters on digital and online media best practices to empower and enable them to upgrade their digital presence to international standards.

“We must ensure that we stay abreast with the technological advancements of the day,” Gilbert urged the over 80 exporters, small business owners, entrepreneurs and manufacturers in attendance. “The move away from static to web 2.0 websites, the move from large screen monitors to smart phones and tablets has to be embraced by our community, by you. It would be unacceptable for us to be lagging behind our regional and international competitors in cyber space. If we fail to reach the standard that we certainly can, let it not be said that it was because of lack of effort.”

Gilbert noted that according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department, in 2015 online sales accounted for more than a third of total retail sales growth, as web sales totaled US$341.7 billion; a 14.6% increase over 2014’s US$293.8 billion. With the noted increases in online and e-commerce sales, Gilbert urged local businesses and exporters that now was the time to “embrace the digital world and all the possibilities that lie there-in.”

“If you think you have a good customer base now, wait till you employ some of what will be imparted today, when you are able to present your entire catalogue to online shoppers,” Gilbert offered.

Local exporters and entrepreneurs were therefore presented with a wide range of digital media and marketing information; including an understanding of the advantages of using online platforms for Business-to-Business meetings; insight into social media for business; as well as information regarding various web application features and functions which would assist them in increasing business and efficiency.

An added feature of this year’s Digital Marketing Symposium was the facilitation of individual Business-to-Business meetings with attendees and digital marketing professional whereby attendees received free assessments and advice on how to improve their online presence.

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