Traders in Chippenham invoked the fighting spirit of Alfred the Great when they launched a new campaign encouraging people to shop local.
1,141 years after the Saxon king camped at Chippenham before battling the Great Heathen Army of Danish Viking King Guthrum, small business owners have entered into an alliance with digital social enterprise scheme ShopAppy.com to begin a fightback against internet shopping giants like Amazon.
The scheme – backed by Chippenham BID as part of its annual £165k commitment to promoting Chippenham’s business environment – will see shops and stores across the town join ShopAppy.com, which provides a simple booking and click-and-collect shopping service for member shops, both via a website and smartphone app.
The partnership means that Chippenham’s member shops now have an ‘always open’ digital presence via the ShopAppy.com app and website, allowing shoppers to make their purchases at any time, collecting either from the store when open, or from out-of-hours collection hubs at The Flying Monk Tavern in Market Place and Inspire Fitness on Union Road.
Chippenham has become the 25th town to partner with the social enterprise scheme.
Chippenham BID manager Kathryn Crosweller said: “We know that the heart of a community is its town centre.
"To be able to give businesses a platform to fight back against the faceless conglomerates of the internet means we are able to help keep Chippenham town centre alive.
"Town centres are where teenagers get their first jobs, families pass time and people from all walks of life get social interaction.
"We need thriving town centres to have a thriving community, and our joining with ShopAppy.com is about giving Chippenham’s businesses a fighting chance of survival in the face of increasingly difficult odds.”
Aaron Gale, owner of independent gents clothing shop Outfit78 said: “We’re really pleased to be involved with ShopAppy.com.
"It goes without saying that shopping local is a must in order to keep our High Street thriving but this adds a whole new dimension.
"For our customers who are unable to make it into town due to other commitments, we have already extended our offering in opening on Sundays.
"ShopAppy.com further adds to this and means they can shop out of hours using the app and collect at a time convenient to them. We are now effectively open 24 hours a day.”
Grace Newman of ShopAppy.com said: “We’re very excited to have historic Chippenham join the ShopAppy.com family.
"If we want to keep our high streets and town centres thriving instead of turning them into ghost towns, councils, trade organisations, BIDs and retailers need to work together to help encourage more local custom.
"ShopAppy.com offers the ability to easily go digital which can play a big role in helping preserve our town centres.”