Cupar is launching a brand-new platform to give businesses and organisations in the Fife town the opportunity to trade online.
CuparClicks has been created by CuparNow, Scotland’s award-winning digital improvement district, to offer support for businesses, enabling them to sell and promote products and services to CuparNow’s growing audience – both at home and abroad.
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 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: “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 site is launching with more than 15 businesses on it and - with the help of a user guide created to offer step-by-step advice - businesses are now loading and managing their own content.
Simon Baldwin of Destination Digital - the company delivering CuparNow - explains: "If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that digital is at the very heart of all we do: communication with friends and family, a new reliance on home working, support for education – and the dissemination of vital information to share health and wellbeing messages to support all, especially the most vulnerable in our community." Simon adds: "This new platform is creating a project that will run and run to support those businesses who choose to make use of it - and it is all included within the CuparNow delivery."
Businesses and organisations loading content to CuparClicks will have their messaging shared far and wide. Simon adds: "This isn't just about having a site and waiting for people to find it. The content that is loaded by those making use of CuparClicks will be promoted proactively through the multiple channels that are delivered as part of CuparNow's managed, integrated digital communication.” Simon explains: “We know our day to day delivery supports many close to home - but we also know our Blog and social media content reaches people around the world. Our Blog is read by people in more than 800 cities across 75 countries ... and counting. That reach can only help businesses who are looking to reach and sell to new customers."
CuparClicks and CuparNow’s delivery has won the backing of many supporting the town. MP, Wendy Chamberlain, tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons earlier in the year and won cross-party support. Wendy says: “CuparNow is less than a year down the road from winning their ballot last December. In that time, they’ve built a hugely engaged audience that now includes one in four people in the town following them on Facebook alone. I am sure CuparClicks will add real value to businesses and the wider community.”
Willie Rennie, MSP, adds: “I’ve seen all that CuparNow has been delivering throughout the lockdown. Their service has been a significant boost - from the free Wi-Fi to their sharing of information that has helped all, including the most vulnerable. CuparClicks will add further to CuparNow’s award-winning delivery.”
The new site launches just before non-domestic rate paying businesses in Cupar receive their 2020-21 levy bills for the digital improvement district.
CuparNow requested the bills were not issued back in April. When bills are issued in September, CuparNow has arranged for all to have a six-week payment period – including an extension if required. Simon Baldwin explains: “The majority of businesses voting – by number and by rateable value – gave their backing to create CuparNow. None of us could foresee Covid-19 and its impact. We postponed the levy bills issue in April and have continued day to day delivery. A huge amount of support has been provided across more than 250 days since the successful ballot. We will now be issuing levy bills to enable all the work to continue – including the ongoing development and promotion of all digital channels.”
The new CuparClicks site features businesses on the home page with click-throughs to enable users to visit each store individually. Visitors can also click on 'shop' and see all the products listed alphabetically - and all are searchable to discover more. So far, there are more than 130 products listed, but many more will be added over the coming weeks and months.
To date, the site has been developed with three-way funding: 40% from the Scottish Government's BID resilience fund, 10% from Fife Council and 50% as an investment from Destination Digital. Simon adds: "We 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're able to help. CuparClicks – our new multi-vendor platform – will provide a foot on the digital ladder for those businesses who most need it and, in doing so, create a brand-new digital channel to help promote Cupar.”