As we painted and prepared our new high street web studio into the evening, we all wondered how having a shop front presence for a group of graphic design, web designers, developers and marketers might go down.
Should this typically back office or basement-dwelling industry be using valuable retail shopping space? Would we just look odd, sat doing our thing at our computers with the good people of Gloucester passing by and peering in? After all, it’s not a ‘I’ll just grab a new website, as I pop in to town to get my hair cut, or buy that new shirt, gift or meal’, is it? We’re not going to deny we have had people come in asking what a ‘mobile app’ is, or if they can ‘surf websites’ here with us.
So why have a visible web design studio?
I mean, what’s wrong with hiding the web developers and techies away in a back office? Why do we need to see the people I can deal with online, and find their website for, on the high street? Since Absolute Creative set up in 2007, we consciously wanted a city centre presence in Gloucester.
We know the industry has a lot of online website builder solutions, freelance designers, friends of friends, uncle’s brother is a technical genius and he does it in his spare time – so why compete with that? There are plenty of independent website companies around, and they don’t need a high street presence – so why do you? Let’s answer those points;
• We wouldn’t promise to be able to as cheap as some of those template website solutions you might see on TV. But we can interpret what you need and want, and make it happen in the best and most professional looking way. And our professionally designed and built website prices start from £295.
• We might not even be as cheap as that person that can do it on evenings and weekends for you. But we are here, all day every day, able to make any changes or fixes to your site that you need. And, if there’s anything out of the slight ordinary that you need, as we’re now in partnership with the first nationwide visible presence of web studios, chances are we can leverage on what another of our geeks elsewhere in the country has done – not costing you the hundreds, thousands in extra, bespoke development time.
• Linking a specific EPOS now shop till, and providing Click and Collect logistics would run into thousands if an independent shop owner approached us. But Nettl have made it happen, we can sell it to you for the cost of a normal, unlinked ecommerce web shop.
• So lastly, why is what we’re offering better than an independent website studio? After all, we were one previously. In a word: ‘contingency’. In the unlikely event that Nettl of Gloucester ceases operating, your project will be transferred to an alternative Nettl web studio for completion or maintenance, thus ensuring that the continuation of your website is always possible.
Is the high street presence working?
We have confused a few people with what we’re doing on the high street. We do get some people press their noses against the windows, as if we’re not here. We have had people drop by when they’re up town shopping or visiting the Cathedral to grab a card, brochure or more information. Yes, we’ve had a few people come in just to pocket a complimentary lolly. And yes, we’ve even had one person think we were selling our posh coffees. But we also feel like we’ve been accepted. The former shop keeper has called in and is impressed and, most importantly, we’re most certainly busier, with more website enquiries than we’ve known before. We’ve had to get an extra member of staff already.
Yes, that upturn may reflect general market and consumer trends – more people want or need a website for their business these days. But we have received really positive feedback, that an empty premises on a busy and landmark street corner in Gloucester has been turned into a cool, contemporary, great looking studio environment. But we think people get the idea. They get that we’re here, we’re answerable, and we’re not going anywhere. They get that they can get the full detailed techie explanation of the code from Angel. They get they can speak to Ian or Vicky and have input into the design. They get that Jake can aid with content, or ongoing social media. They get that Josh makes wonderful 3D things happen, or gets their website built.
We haven’t abandoned our printing service either. Gloucester Print Shop has continued to grow since its introduction last year and, although there has been a huge shift towards digital, there is still a demand for print from those who wish to convey their brand message on business cards, letterheads, leaflets, posters, booklets – as well as many others.
Our print service has been evolving with us, and soon our web-2-print store will be converted to a mobile-friendly website – allowing users to order their print quickly from tablets and mobiles, as well as their desktops.
So are we Nettl? Or Absolute Creative?
We’re both. We are still Absolute Creative Marketing Limited, born and bred in Gloucester, proudly marketing here in various guises since 2007. We’re a local, independent company and we’re not prescribed to what we have to do or how we have to do it. We’ve partnered with Nettl, because of the all the benefits being part of such a large group can provide. A network or geeks can make things happen, even more than we could on our own. Access to the very latest platforms and developments that are licensed by us and hosted via the most robust Amazon EC2 cloud infrastructure that Netflix and Amazon trust. Nettl is our main name above the door, because whilst Gloucester was the first Nettl partnership of this type to be put on the map, it’s the Nettl brand that is appearing on more and more high streets around the UK and Ireland. You can see how many there currently by visiting the Nettl website.
It’s a cheesy and overused line, but we think that offers the best of both worlds.