Last week, high street businesses in Andover learned of the embryonic digital plans to encourage online local shopping.
At the video conference presentation attended by over 30 people, Andover BID launched its ‘InAndover Digital High Street’ initiative. The plans are “to complement the physical presence” of Andover’s shops.
The Bid says the effort is to, “Help the town compete against the online giants of Amazon, eBay & Etsy”.
The presentation on Zoom was attended by BID members representing town centre businesses large and small, the media, and stakeholders including Cllr North, leader of Test Valley Borough Council. Attendees included Steve Cotney (Chantry Centre), Tim Abram (Andover Tap) and Pete Richards (Town Mills).
Although no specific details or benefits of the plans were unveiled, it appears that InAndover digital high street is a directory which lists local businesses, which can be searched for using a bespoke map.
Cllr North highlighted that the layout and requirements of the UK’s high streets are changing. He cited Basingstoke losing two large national brands recently as a reason why Andover must think ‘more local’ and the Council are doing everything it can to support and encourage smaller businesses into the high street area.
BID Manager Steve Godwin outlined the purpose and aim of ‘InAndover’ as a ‘one stop’ Digital High Street. Consultant Andrew Middleton confirmed that Andover businesses are now competing with the online digital giants.
Cllr North added, “The Borough Council are delighted to be working closely with Andover BID to support our High Street and we endorse the launch of In Andover’s Digital High Street as a one stop local platform to complement physical trips to the town centre.
“We are also working with the BID in other initiatives such as the shortly to open shared retail incubator unit and an exciting programme of town centre events aimed at encouraging people into the town centre safely as covid restrictions ease. “
Andover BID are launching a rent-free, rates-free shop opportunity for artisan businesses in the Chantry Centre later this month. BID Manage Steve Godwin added, “The platform illuminates the fantastic businesses we already have in our community and helps us to compete with the national giant on-line platforms.
“Our town has a number of benefits over other towns and cities in as much as we are safe with our wide and uncluttered pedestrianised high street and town centre an important factor in being Covid-friendly, easy, very accessible and congestion free and convenient with adequate and low-cost parking.
“At the beginning of lockdown, BID introduced Free WiFi to the town centre and just last September the uniformed town centre Rangers who have become familiar and welcome feature of the town helping to businesses and people to feel safe and reassured. With our population of around 50,000 and growing, and with the surrounding villages, particularly the army bases of Larkhill, Durrington, Bulford & Tidworth, our market is large.
“Andover BID has developed InAndover as its brand and as a one stop Digital High Street and marketing platform for the town centre offering a great potential for our developing town centre”.
Further information about the new Digital High Street visit www.inandover.co.uk