Retail businesses in Rhyl will be among the first in the country to access specialist support in promoting their businesses through social media, following the launch of a six–month Local Rewards pilot scheme as part of the ‘Year of SMART Towns’ project being delivered by Menter Môn on behalf of the Welsh Government.
Menter Môn is a not-for-profit company providing solutions to the challenges facing businesses, communities, and individuals in rural Wales.
As part of the scheme, retail, and social media experts Maybe* Tech will provide a “digital high street guide” showcasing the best of the local businesses in the area. Businesses who are actively posting engaging content on their social media will gain top spots in the guides, which change daily according to what businesses are sharing, and those who offer customers rewards additionally benefit from prime positions.
To take part, local businesses need only sign up via app.maybetech.com/signup, and whether they are complete novices with no digital presence, or whether they are experts, they will receive all the support and advice necessary to get on, or get better with, social media. Signing up and being active on social platforms means they will be automatically included in the Local Rewards programme and are presented on the digital high street guides. All they will need to do is communicate about their businesses on social media, for which support is also available.
Abigail Pilling, manager of Rhyl BID comments:
“Now, more than ever, it is important to raise Rhyl's profile, and broaden its customer reach. Rhyl BID is thankful to the Welsh Government and Menter Môn for funding and facilitating the Maybe* Tech pilot in Rhyl, and for the opportunity to trial this platform.
“Maybe* Tech is designed to shape and track consumer perceptions of our town, support individual businesses to develop their online presence, draw new customers into their businesses, and offer rewards via its user-friendly “all-in-one” service.
“Rhyl BID is looking for “Maybe* Tech Champions who would like to be the first to trial the platform – just contact us to get involved.”
The ‘Year of SMART Towns’ project aims to enable businesses to plan projects which lead to economic growth as well as helping them make the best use of digital technology.
This project is funded by the Welsh Government and is closely aligned with their Transforming Towns agenda. As part of this project, Menter Môn are piloting technologies in towns to encourage businesses to collect and use data to better understand their customer base and trends which can support their future planning and marketing activities.
Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of Denbighshire County Council, and Lead Member for the Economy, said:
“We are delighted that Rhyl has been chosen as one of the towns to trial this fantastic pilot scheme which aims to support businesses within the county. There are many benefits to using social media to advertise products however we need the tools to help us adapt to these changes and benefit from it.
“We are actively encouraging everyone to support their local businesses by using our #LoveLiveLocal campaign to spread awareness, however this project highlights the additional benefits of digital technology which we are fully supportive of. I would encourage every business who can, to get involved.”
Rhyl is the first Pioneer Town who will be piloting one of these technologies, with Menter Môn working with the Rhyl community to evaluate the success of this trial and to provide support and resources to other towns who might consider adopting this technology.
“Recent research shows that around 70% of consumers spend up to 3-hours a day scrolling on social media. When you couple this with the fact more and more people are keen to support their local high street businesses, it stands to reason that connecting local people from the digital world to the physical world is the solution to increasing high street footfall and sales,” explains Polly Barnfield OBE, CEO of Maybe* Tech.
“In other locations where we have delivered this technology, businesses have not only reported an uplift in footfall and sales in their physical stores, but they have also been able to reach and engage with online customers that perhaps would never have encountered them before. We have seen one independent shoe retailer go from zero to over £1million in online sales whilst also benefiting from increased in-store spend as a result of embracing the tools provided by the www.maybetech.com platform.
“Obviously, businesses need to do their bit, but by providing them with the tools, and the skills to make best use of them, we know that the whole community can benefit.”
“With Winter upon us, now is the time to ensure your business can weather the storm by getting online or improving your digital presence,” explains Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion, Independent retail, and high streets expert.
“In my experience, businesses who kept in contact with customers via social media during previous lockdowns were those who not only retained existing customers but also, in many cases, grew their trade well beyond pre-pandemic levels. I would urge all consumer facing businesses to embrace digital as a critical part of their customer communications and sales strategies.”