News & Events
Shop Local initiatives: report on Network Event, Wellington June 16th
On a beautiful day, 20 delegates from as far afield as Frome and Ivybridge in Devon travelled to Wellington to hear about a range of promotional schemes and events that support local businesses, that could be replicated in other market towns. We had 5 representatives of Chambers, and welcomed new SMTF members Somerton Town Council.
First were some local examples, starting with ‘Wellington Food Town’ (photo above). John Pragnell of Wellington Economic Partnership showed an excellent video, explained how the successful Food Town festival has grown over the first two years, and is moving into a new phase by being self-funded, and organising other events such as July's Beer & Jazz Festival. Find out more here...
Terry Sanford of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce then presented ‘The Wellington Experience’. This is a promotional initiative, taking its lead from Wellington’s MCTi Community Plan, which looks to promote the special features and qualities of the town to visitors and raise awareness among the population of everything happening in the town. See Terry’s presentation here - The Wellington Experience
Ilminster’s First Tuesday promotion was the next example. Bryan Ferris, of the Ilminster Chamber, explained this simple (but effective) monthly prize draw scheme, where balloons are positioned outside participating businesses on the First Tuesday of the month.
If you spend over £5 or £10 you are entered into a draw, with some basic information on the customer taken (this is added to a database which is used to remind customers of forthcoming draws and events).
After 9 months the scheme has started to change people’s shopping behaviour; there are at least two examples of customers shopping in more participating businesses on a First Tuesday. Bryan pointed out that non-retail, service businesses such as accountants and chiropidists also take part.
Prizes are donated by participating businesses – they are also asked for a small donation to the ‘First Tuesday kitty’ which pays for draw tickets, posters and a recent addition which is a 1-day per month administrator who collects the tickets and prizes. Read more here... View their Facebook page here...
Matt Day went to present some other ‘Shop Local’ examples from further afield - one a town with a Loyalty card, one a grouping of towns, and one coming from a Transition initiative.
Faversham, Kent – read more here...
High Peak, Derbyshire – read more here...
The Lewes Pound – read more here...
There was then some good networking over a High Tea.
Key points & queries raised during the Q&A’s after each speaker were;
- How did Wellington manage to pull people together in the town for these initiatives?
- What can be done to get customers to visit independent stores rather than just use in-town supermarkets? There was a discussion on this about Waitrose in Crewkerne and Wellington, but there are examples in most market towns, including Tescos in Shepton Mallet and Wells.
- The impact of car-parking charges generally, and specifically the blanket increases threatened across all car parks owned by a council in Devon, and the effect of charges in South Somerset’s towns.
- What the structure of the Wellington Economic Partnership was – reps from Town, District, County Councils and the Chamber form this. WEP has taken the lead on the economic projects from the MCTi Community Plan.
- Unique Selling Points – what marks out your town’s distinctiveness for visitors including shoppers?
- Pros and Cons of the examples shown - the choice of scheme really comes down to the resources (human and funding) that towns have at their disposal - a small group of committed people can make these work, though it will often take time to beat apathy, and time for schemes to develop and impact on shopping habits.
Many thanks to all the speakers and attendees whose input made the event successful.
Created on June 17th 2010
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