After the unveiling of the stunning new Totnes Pound notes, there’s no chance for the dust to settle with the announcement of another groundbreaking development of this scheme to support Totnes high street. Working in partnership with Bristol Pound, Totnes has won the opportunity to be the first town to implement new electronic currency software, offering a range of tools to make it easier for customers to fulfil their desire to buy local.
This opportunity comes through funding from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board as a result of an SBRI competition called ‘Re-imagining the High Street’. The new electronic currency will enable customers to order with all participating businesses through a one-stop online shop giving retailers a way of selling online they may otherwise be unable to offer. A ‘click and collect’ service will bring people into the high street and blend the convenience of online shopping with enjoying the diversity of the high street. With the added ability to incorporate reward programmes and special offers, this local currency tool is designed to act as a strong marketing and loyalty tool for independent traders.
The longer term aim of the project is to roll out this technology and service in a cost-effective way to towns and cities across the UK to create a network of local currencies. Totnes will be the first town anywhere to offer this tool to businesses and consumers with a pilot scheme due to launch in the Autumn.
Chantelle Norton, who will be managing the project in Totnes says, ”Shoppers are already expressing a desire to direct their online spend more locally. This new Totnes Pound currency software can fine-tune the shopping experience to help customers fulfil this desire. It provides shoppers with an additional way to buy goods and services from businesses that are local to them, and at the same time feel confident that more of the money they pay will recirculate locally, thus supporting local jobs. With the fantastic business take-up of the new Totnes Pound notes and this amazing new online opportunity we’ll be working hard to make sure our high street feels the benefit.”
Graham Woodruff, Technical Director of Bristol Pound, who is leading the project says, “The Bristol Pound is showing the potential of electronic local currency to support independent traders and we have been approached by many other towns and cities wanting to set-up something similar. The funding from the Technology Strategy Board means that we can provide an electronic platform for local currency, with new and improved services for customers and traders, in a way that makes local currency a viable proposition to support high streets in towns and cities across the UK. We are delighted to be partnering with Totnes in this project after being so inspired by the Totnes Pound in our original decision to launch a currency in Bristol.”