After such a tough period during 2020, high streets are beginning to bounce back. The effects of the pandemic are still being felt, but it became clear that our towns are still highly important to the communities that they serve.
To help get them back up and running after the impact of lockdowns, the UK government has been handing out funding to a number of authorities all over the country, allowing them to improve their high streets.
One of these funding avenues is called the Welcome Back Fund and is designed to help high streets reopen safely – and build back better.
How should the Welcome Back Fund be used?
There are guidelines that state how the Welcome Back Fund should be used, but the main priority is to ensure that the high street, town centre, or retail shopping parks can begin to welcome back consumers in a way that benefits everyone.
For example, the funding can be used to increase the quality of experience that shoppers have when visiting the area. Money can be used to remove graffiti or repaint areas that need it, or it can be used to invest in green spaces and place more benches around.
The funding can also be used to host events that encourage footfall into the area, or solutions such as regional and district loyalty schemes.
How can small businesses benefit from the Welcome Back Fund?
District loyalty schemes are the perfect way for councils and local authorities to support local small businesses and help them get back on their feet after the pandemic. It also helps boost the regional economy across more than just these businesses, as increased footfall leads to more usage of other businesses, such as those in the hospitality industry and council-owned leisure facilities.
As the Welcome Back Fund has an expiry date for usage, you can easily set up your regional loyalty scheme now and provide it to the retailers within your area free of charge, setting it up quickly and easily. There are no required long-term contracts at the end of the scheme, and the participating retailers can choose to continue seamlessly without any interruption to their existing scheme.
Small businesses greatly benefit from loyalty schemes that cover a whole area, as they can easily customise their scheme in a unique way to suit their customers. They can choose what and where the points earned in their shops are redeemed, whilst customers can collect points using the same card (or digital app) with all participating retailers in the area.
Retailers can also set their own rewards and edit them whenever they feel is necessary, setting time or number-limited rewards, and the scheme is easily scalable with their business. For example, if the retailer opens another shop throughout the duration of the council-funded scheme, they can add it to the loyalty platform with just the click of a button.
Retailers can also add their loyalty scheme to their web shop, as the platform integrates with most online stores.
Once the funding has ended, retailers can carry on from as little as £30 per month with no disruption to the loyalty scheme they have been using throughout the year. With additional extras such as gift cards also available at a small cost, the all-in-one solution can benefit the area the local authority covers, retailers, and consumers alike.