New virtual Shopping Guide for residents and businesses in Ashford and Tenterden goes live this weekPublished: 12/10/2023
A new virtual shopping guide that showcases live content from Ashford and Tenterden businesses is now live. It enables shoppers to find businesses in their local areas, view the latest social media content and shop with them for rewards. These local guides have already been deployed by more than 50 councils and shopping centres across the UK.
With UK high streets set to see the reopening of non-essential retail in April, the guides make it simple to support local and will help businesses to connect with nearby shoppers. Every purchase by a registered shopper in participating businesses benefits other registered businesses nearby. It does not require any apps to be downloaded and is completely free for shoppers and businesses to access.
The guides, better known as Local Rewards, have been created by Maybe*, a social media management platform, that helps businesses use social media to increase their digital activity and boost sales. The Maybe* platform provides all the tools and training businesses might need to increase revenue through social media engagement, even for those that already understand the basics.
Polly Barnfield OBE, CEO of Maybe*, the tech company that has developed Local Rewards, said: “Our research revealed that 66% of shoppers look online for inspiration. The Local Rewards guides group all social media content by location to encourage people to browse their local businesses, and when they reopen they will be rewarded for their local spend. Our aim is to enable shoppers to have a better shopping experience, discover new places and provide businesses with the tools to reward their customers.
“High Streets need infrastructure that until now has only been available for online businesses. They need to communicate with shoppers in real-time and be able to showcase what’s available. In order to compete, high street businesses need to up their digital game, promote their physical stores and collaborate. Our platforms help them collectively to do that.”
Hannah Clayton-Peck, Town Centre Regeneration Manager, said: “We believe that having Local Rewards for Ashford and Tenterden will encourage shoppers to explore their local area. It will showcase to residents what shopping local is all about and will give people the chance to easily discover what’s in their towns in one easy to use guide.”
Olivia Ealham - Liv2Dance Studios, Ashford town centre, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for Ashford Town Centre businesses to use Maybe*. As a business owner I am excited to see the huge benefits and will most definitely be engaging in the training and support offered. As the town starts to re-open in the coming months this will be a brilliant boost for all business types and will raise awareness within the local community of what’s available, right in the heart of Ashford!”
Virginia Hodge, Old Dairy Brewery, Tenterden, said: “We are delighted and very excited to start using our Maybe* account that has been sponsored by Ashford Borough Council for Ashford and Tenterden businesses. As a brewery, we have become very aware that people's shopping habits have changed, particularly in the last year. There is a desire to shop local but also to buy more online. We have had to adapt to this change very quickly and increase our digital presence, so to be involved with the Maybe* Local Rewards scheme is fantastic and offers us an opportunity to better showcase our beers to our customers and promote to a much wider audience.
“The Maybe* platform also provides us with some much-needed essential tools, including social media training and 1-1 advice that we need to grow our digital presence. We are very much looking forward to being a part of the Maybe* Local Rewards Scheme and working with other businesses to promote local.”
Ashford Borough Council is sponsoring 1,000 local businesses across the borough to sign up for a Maybe* account. The account grants them free access to live webinars, training tools and insight tools for 12 months, as well as one to one support from the Maybe* experts.