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East Ayrshire Shop local scheme

East Ayrshire is one of thirty-two council areas of Scotland. It shares borders with Dumfries and Galloway, East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, and South Lanarkshire
The population of East Ayrshire is 121,600.
Kilmarnock is the largest burgh in East Ayrshire 
Lead organisation – East Ayrshire Council

The Challenge

Kilmarnock, Stewarton, Glaston, Dalmellington and Cumnock are all burghs in East Ayrshire. These thriving areas have a unique mix of culture, retail, and leisure. The town centres are well-known for their wide range of independent niche shops which, combined with many of the familiar high street stores, offers a great mix of retail. When the global pandemic hit, many of the local businesses struggled to survive with the lack of footfall and there was weak links between areas and businesses.. The council recognised a need for businesses to digitalise to improve their resilience and boost local spend and footfall for the long term but also saw the potential of the platform to increase business collaboration. 

 

The Solution

East Ayrshire Council commissioned ShopAppy to create a local virtual marketplace for all the businesses in the district. The aim to get businesses to digitalise together to make it easier for them to continue to trade and for local residents to maintain contact with them with ease from the comfort of their home, supporting more localised footfall when restrictions eased.

By joining forces both ShopAppy and East Ayrshire Council have been able to strengthen trusted networks for businesses. Furthermore, the strong collaboration between a private and public sector has been seen as a positive impact upon both the businesses in the East Ayrshire District and local residents. 

“ShopAppy have been great to work with, initially we all had challenges in engaging with the business community due to lockdown restrictions. However, having a development manager based in Scotland has made a big difference in getting businesses registered” 

Tracey Murray, East Ayrshire Council

Partnership

A key outcome from the emphasis on partnership has been a significant increase in collaboration within and between towns in the area and local ownership of the platform. Tracy Murray, Place partner from East Ayrshire Council explains

“Kilmarnock and Cumnock Business Associations are now working more closely together and sought funding to commit to ShopAppy for a further two years, this is being supported by EAC. This is the first time that two business associations in East Ayrshire have collaborated to further a project which shows how invested the business communities are in ShopAppy”

The great work Kilmarnock Business Association and East Ayrshire Council have done has been recently recognised, they were awarded at the Scotland loves Local awards for building the East Ayrshire gift card which was issued to those most in need and all that money was spent in the local economy. The success of the intuitive led to the council running it a second time round supporting the local businesses in the area and the community. This amazing achievement is a true representation of the work collaboratively being done. 

The scheme works with the East Ayrshire Gift Card which is another huge achievement ultimately promoting supporting local businesses and communities which won recognition in the Scottish Parliament.

 ShopAppy and East Ayrshire council are committed to keep strengthening their relationship through the growing tie of supporting the local community and businesses. 

This is only the beginning. We are excited to see what the future holds!

Impacts

With nearly 8000 users on the platform looking at 6 pages on average per session (twice the global average), the scheme is going from strength to strength generating spend of over £130k in East Ayrshire areas as it rolls out and engages more businesses.

"It has been a pleasure to work with ShopAppy in East Ayrshire. By combining initiatives such as Gift Card and ShopAppy, the work has helped to lock in local spend supporting businesses to recover. However the fact that the work has pulled together two business associations that now manage the scheme, provides a strong sustainable model."

Lisa Edwards, Place Development Manager, ShopAppy.