BUSINESSES across north Worcestershire are being urged to sign up to a digital platform to promote high streets, such as Bromsgrove and Redditch.
Shopappy has been funded by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership to enable small independent retailers to promote their services, products and information in one place.
It is free for participants for the first six months as part of the GBSLEP’s Step Forward scheme – a series of programmes to support businesses recovering from Covid-19 and adapt to new working practices.
It covers 12 town and local centres within the region and also co-ordinates deliveries for local shops, helping them to save on their own shipping costs and giving local communities the opportunity to receive all their purchases as one order.
The platform encourages shoppers to visit their local high-streets in order to collect their orders and promotes the use of local independents to encourage people to support vital small businesses. The app does not take any commission, ensuring local shops receive the full value for their products and services while providing a boost to the economies of local towns.
Shopappy was launched in 2016 to help support local retailers, bringing convivence with a local conscience.
The platform is now available to use in over 140 towns across the UK.
The service has provided shopping services, virtual makers fairs, virtual events, online appointments and even takeaway meals to help areas keep connected.
Simon Marks, from the GBSLEP, said: “Our high streets have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and we have seen how quickly retailers have had to adapt to the new challenges they face.
“It has been great to see businesses safely welcoming back customers, and it is now paramount to support our local shops as they return to business, almost, as usual.
“We have witnessed a sharp increase in the number of people opting to shop online as a result of the pandemic, so it is imperative that as well as encouraging people to visit these stores where possible, we also help small businesses and independents to establish themselves on different platforms.”
He added this would enable the firms to showcase their products to the widest audience possible and benefit businesses looking to expand their online presence.
“The scheme is completely free for businesses for the first six months, so we would urge them to sign up to the scheme as soon as possible to reap the full benefits.
“We’d also encourage people to use the app to browse and buy in their local community and help support local businesses which play such a crucial role in our regional economy.”
To find out more about the app, go to https://shopappy.com/.