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Cotswold towns in UK-first, virtual High Street guide scheme for shoppers and businesses

25 February 2021
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A new council sponsored virtual ‘High Street Guide’ programme that showcases content from local businesses is now live in ten towns and villages across the Cotswolds.
The technology enables shoppers to see businesses near them and view their social media content, engage and shop with them through their desktop and mobile phone.
Run in collaboration between Cotswold District Council and Maybe* Tech  the initiative  improves businesses use of social media and once High Streets reopen will allow businesses to communicate with and reward shoppers when they are shopping on the High Street. .
The towns and villages that will benefit from the virtual High Street Guides include: Bourton on the Water, Cirencester, Chipping Campden, Fairford, Lechlade, Moreton in Marsh, Northleach, South Cerney and Stow on the Wold. 257 businesses have already signed up for the platform.
Every business that signs up to manage their listing on the virtual High Street Guide also have access to an extensive range of social media tools and training provided by Maybe* Tech.
Law & Co, a clothing boutique in Stow on the Wold  used the tools and training provided by Maybe* Tech to improve sales through itspopular Instagram profile. The business has seen its total online sales across one month in lockdown increase by 772 per cent.
Cirencester an aerial shot
An aerial photograph of Cirencester, a small town in The Cotswolds in England.

Denise Law, the shop’s owner says, “It’s a game changer. It’s like discovering something that just changes everything. It’s enabling me to sell more and get to more people. The results have absolutely blown me away.


“We are in this amazing situation where my business is growing in front of my eyes each week. It’s brilliant. Sign up!”
Councillor Tony Dale, Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Young People comments: “COVID-19 and lockdowns have affected the way we shop and how consumers use social media to engage with our local economy using e-commerce.
“The Council are committed to helping rebuild the local economy, that’s why I’m pleased to announce we’re partnering with Maybe* to provide businesses in the Cotswolds with the tools and skills they need to succeed as more and more people do their shopping online.”
The High Street Guides have been created by Maybe* Tech, a social media management platform that helps businesses use social media to sell. For businesses that need help to increase their digital activity, the Maybe* platform provides all the tools and training they need, from those just starting out or for those that are already good at social media. Anyone can find the High Street Guides at www.localrewards.chat .
Polly Barnfield OBE, CEO of Maybe said: “Our research revealed that 66 per cent of shoppers look online for inspiration. The High Street Guide groups all social media content by location to encourage people to browse their local high street, 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 businesses they may not have known before and provide businesses with the tools to reward their customers.
“High Streets need infrastructure that until now has only been available for online businesses,” she added. “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 and we are delighted to be working with Cotswold District Council.”

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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