adaptiVLE and Ilkley BID to launch digital town centre regeneration initiative
Yorkshire-based digital developer, adaptiVLE, is collaborating with Ilkley BID to launch a new online portal designed to encourage people back onto the high street.
As the world continues to adapt to the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic, high street businesses are once again ready to welcome customers. However, the effects of the last 18 months have seen a huge rise in online shopping; in January 2020, before the virus spread, online sales accounted for around 20% of UK retail sales. A year later, that figure had grown to 36%. For many brick-and-mortar businesses, this is a worrying trend, with the fear being that customers will not return to town centres to do their shopping.
Online retailers such as Amazon offer a huge range of products and the convenience of next day delivery. For town centres to compete, they will need to differentiate themselves from faceless websites by delivering personal customer service, tailored offers and dialogue with customers that can only be fostered through links with the local community they are a part of.
Ilkley BID is tackling these challenges head-on by creating an online regeneration hub that will unite the town into an Amazon-style marketplace. Offering residents and visitors a way to easily browse and access products and services offered by participating Ilkley businesses, the platform will create personalised itineraries for customers that will plan out a visit to the town centre. An itinerary may include places to shop, eat and visit, as well as helpful parking information and personalised offers to be redeemed in shops and cafes.
AdaptiVLE is developing the digital platform, with Lead Creative, Mark Gash, stating, “When used correctly, the internet retail and service space isn’t a threat to real-world companies, it is there to support and enhance them. This is the approach we are taking with the Ilkley regeneration platform - cherry-picking the best parts of online giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Netflix and blending them with the unique offerings of Ilkley businesses, to deliver a local-first answer to online shopping and services.
As digital developers, we are obviously huge advocates of new technologies and online tools but we are also a team of real people, living, working and shopping in Yorkshire. We want our towns and cities to not just survive but thrive in the wake of the changing online business landscape and it’s refreshing to see such forward-thinking coming from Ilkley BID and City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council in the funding of this project.”
The Ilkley regeneration platform will launch its first phase in October, in time for residents, visitors and businesses to benefit from the project during the festive shopping period.
Photo credits: Ilkley BID and Heidi Marfitt