Convenience stores in a number of pilot towns are being given the opportunity to take part in a scheme set up by Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, working with the government’s Future High Streets Forum, to help retailers work together to promote their towns online. The pilot is using the #WDYT hashtag to generate conversations among customers in Gloucester, Stroud and Cheltenham, with the pilot now being extended to Leamington Spa, Stafford and a number of other towns that are preparing to launch.
ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said: “It’s quite right that in looking at ways to support high streets, the Future High Street Forum includes an important piece of work on how digital communications can be harnessed to support bricks and mortar shops, rather than just being seen as a threat to high streets. The pilot is looking into how businesses can work together to promote the places where they trade, and to make shopping easier and more enjoyable for customers. We want to ensure that convenience retailers can be part of this pilot.”
Diane Savory, chair of Gloucestershire LEP, said: “The digital high street initiative is already proving that business working together to create an online presence for the towns where they trade is effective for those businesses and those places. By 2020, nearly half of retailing transactions will be influenced by the web, so all types of retailers have to think about how they want to talk to their digitally savvy customers. Convenience stores are an important part of the eco-system of high streets and parades across the country, and this sector can play an important part in this work.”
Convenience stores in Gloucester, Stroud, Cheltenham, Stafford and Leamington Spa who want to take part in the pilot will be contacted by the Gloucestershire LEP team running the project and helped to link with other local businesses. Retailers wanting to take part should contact Steve Dowling at ACS on 01252 533009 or email@example.com. For more information visit www.wdyt.org.uk
All the findings from the pilot are being fed directly back to the Future High Streets Forum, chaired by high streets minister Andrew Percy, and will help inform government policy and initiatives to support high streets.