As a researcher in social psychology, I became concerned about the impact living in 'ghost towns' would have on communities and wanted to do something about it. I met neighbours to discuss the barriers to shopping local- most were centred on shops being closed when people returned home and also perceptions that there was nothing on the high street. I met with local shopkeepers and discovered there were a lot of challenges for small shops going on line, around skills, money and time. I decided to focus on those two problems, making it easier for customers to shop local and making it easier for local businesses to go online.
ShopAppy is a digital platform that brings local shops and services together online with easy click and collect from one single collection point after the shops have closed - usually a pub or a cafe. This is helping to reduce over-packaging wrought by home deliveries, and providing a local alternative for time-pressed people, as well as people who cannot shop for a wide variety of reasons to support their local town centres. The scheme is now in 24 towns who are reporting additional footfall, new faces into shops and customers are very positive about the ability to get convenience with a local conscience. As well as the site and app, ShopAppy provides a shop local campaign and marketing to support small, local businesses and campaigns for better conditions to ensure our markets, high streets and the hearts of our towns and cities can thrive.