Paisley Abbey” (CC BY 2.0) by paisleyorguk

The internet has improved our lives in multiple ways. From finding information to enjoying the latest movie releases, the online world has changed the physical world around us. However, even in an age where digital technology reigns supreme, it’s nice to have something tangible. With Paisley being well renowned for its prowess in the world of weaving, visitors are always looking to take a piece of the region home. However, there’s a lot of potential beyond the famous Paisley shawl.

With more people now visiting Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Paisley is starting to reap the benefits of increased tourism. However, when you delve deeper into the statistics, spending across Scotland is down. According to the Scottish Tourism Industry report for 2017/2018, day visitors spent 8.7% less than they did during the previous year. Moreover, total visitor spend was down 7.4%. In essence, what the stats suggest is that more people are coming to the area, but they’re spending less. Although the reasons for this will be varied, the internet could play a part in the spending slump.

Make Use of Picture Perfect Paisley

Think about it; today, you can take your own photos and store them on your phone. In days gone by, visitors would either have to get them developed at a local shop or buy postcards as souvenirs. Obviously, separating people from their smartphones is impossible at this point. However, thanks to modern technology, you can encourage people to turn their digital photos into physical products, a possibility many welcome. Using an online service, you can create high-quality postcards in a variety of styles. From standard formats and bookmarks to premium paper cards, the possibilities are almost endless.

For individuals, that’s great as it means they can have a tangible reminder of their time in Paisley. However, it’s also something retailers can use to their advantage. As well as shooting and printing their own postcards, local businesses could also offer printing as a secondary service. In other words, a local shop can become an affiliate of an online printing service. Not only would the additional affiliate revenue boost their bottom line, but it would also give customers a way to have a physical reminder of their trip.

3d printed objects by westonhighschoollibrary, on Flickr
3d printed objects” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by westonhighschoollibrary

Alongside similar lines, 3D printing could also provide another high-tech way for Paisley businesses to increase tourism and, in turn, spending. While an industrial-sized 3D printer is by no means cheap, the cost of owning one is starting to fall as they become more common. Something such as the Monoprice Select Mini V2 comes in at under £200 and has the ability to create desktop-size 3D prints with a surprising degree of detail. Naturally, you’re not going to be able to create a truly lifelike representation of something for that price. However, you can print something that’s a nice memento of a local landmark or setting, potentially even customising it to the visitor’s preferences.

Using this technology, shop owners could offer standard printouts of attractions such as the Town Hall or Paisley Abbey. Alternatively, the truly entrepreneurial could give visitors the ability to turn their snapshots into figurines. The process itself may take a day or two. However, if it’s organised correctly, visitors could collect their 3D model at a later date or have it mailed to them. Either way, it’s another way in which businesses could create something lasting and help generate more income from the glut of tourists that visit the area.

Embrace New Business Models

Of course, we’re not suggesting that you totally forgo the idea of using the internet as a way of making money or encouraging people to visit Paisley. In fact, we actively encourage it. However, with so many things on the internet available for free, it seems it may not always best for business. As we’ve shown, though, you can still use it to your advantage. With a little bit of thought, it’s possible to harness the power of modern technology to create something tangible and, in turn, drive business. Printed postcards or 3D models are a great start, but there’s so much more you could do.

Paisley has and always will be a must-see place for visitors to Scotland, not least because of its famous fabrics. With the number of tourists on the up, more opportunities are set to present themselves in the coming years. For businesses and the local economy, these are opportunities not to be wasted. The average visitor spend may be down, but that doesn’t mean things have to stay that way. By finding innovative ways to combine the power of the internet and new tech with our inherent love of physical objects, there’s no reason Paisley can’t set the trend when it comes to providing physical gifts in an online age.


Founder of in 1998 and constantly strives to change peoples attitudes to the town, Brian is a self described Paisley Digital Champion who promotes Paisley via any means necessary. You can also follow me on X