Cupar Clicks … helping businesses sell online

Work has started on the creation of a new multi-vendor platform to support businesses in Cupar – funded by CuparNow, the town’s award-winning Digital Improvement District with support from the Scottish Government’s Resilience Fund.

The new site – expected to ‘go live’ in June – is designed to provide a new platform, primarily for those businesses who are not trading online but need help in doing so.

CuparNow’s Steering Group Chair, Alison Strachan, explains: “Before and throughout the lockdown, CuparNow has shared updates with businesses and customers on a whole range of Covid-19 related issues. This has included support for our business community as well as key information to advise everyone on what’s been available from Cupar during the lockdown.

Alison adds: “As the lockdown began, we became aware of businesses who having had to close their physical premises were unable to continue trading in any other way because they had no online trading presence. That gave us the idea. The development of the new platform is in the very first stage. We are reaching out to businesses to ask how we can best help – and we are already hearing from those who want to be a part of this much needed and exciting programme.

When the Covid-19 BIDs resilience fund was announced by Scotland’s Towns Partnership for and on behalf of the Scottish Government, Destination Digital Ltd, the company that delivers CuparNow, made an application to create a multi-vendor platform. Simon Baldwin, a Director at Destination Digital says: “We’ve created, launched and are now running the UK and Scotland’s only Digital Improvement District. We’re acutely aware of the importance ‘digital’ plays in all of our lives. Covid-19 has only heightened the need for businesses to have a better digital presence and, where those have little or no digital footprint, we are able to help. Cupar Clicks – our new multi-vendor platform – will provide a foot on the digital ladder for those businesses who most need it.

Since CuparNow launched, it has delivered significant levels of support to the benefit of multiple audiences in and around Cupar. Through managed, integrated digital communication and services – delivered seven days a week between 8am and 10pm – CuparNow is providing support for businesses, community partners, culture and tourism groups, education providers, environmental projects, health and social care partnerships – all designed as a ‘whole town’ solution to best support the town’s sustainability. The delivery includes a managed public realm Wi-Fi network that covers much of the town centre and provides free access to residents and visitors. Simon adds: “We now have a digital audience of more than 15,000 across the channels we manage. They are our advocates – sharing the content we are creating and publishing with their friends, family and colleagues at home and abroad. That level of engagement and interaction will be used as part of the new project to best help businesses to trade online.”

CuparNow’s delivery includes a Blog – https://www.cuparnow.blog/ – that not only includes mapped and categorised listings of every business in the town but also provides a channel to share more content that showcases all that Cupar has to offer. Since the Blog launched, it has been read by people in more than 700 cities across 75 countries. It has provided a ‘go to’ resource for people in and around Cupar during the lockdown – thousands accessing key information that has been published providing updates on food deliveries, prescription collections, financial support for businesses and much more.

Simon concludes: “Digital is at the very heart of all we do – not only as a digital improvement district but in our everyday lives as businesses and customers. Crucially, through our commitment and investment, the multi-vendor platform will exist beyond the resilience fund timetable to deliver a legacy project that will deliver benefit long after the lockdown ends – aiding the town’s recovery. We are delighted that our application has been awarded funding. Together with top-up support from Fife Council’s local community planning budget and further investment from our own company, we can help to bring this project to fruition to make a positive impact.

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