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Mansfield town centre goes digital in innovative new retail technology scheme

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Nottinghamshire market town Mansfield has become the first centre to upgrade to Rewarding Visits technology, which will see its shopping areas transformed into ‘digital high streets’.

Launched on 11 March, the system sees the BID’s (Business Improvement District) existing ‘I Love Mansfield’ scheme upgraded and re-launched with the addition four digital touchpoints complementing the initiative. Located in the Four Seasons shopping centre, Mansfield Central Library, bus station and Vision West Nottinghamshire College, the touchpoints allow shoppers to print out vouchers to use on money-saving offers and promotions available at a range of town centre businesses.

Local firms will be able to benefit from adding their offers and promotions to the platform in minutes, which shoppers will be able to view on their mobiles through an app or at the touchpoints. Around 120 retailers from large, well-known high-street favourites including Boots and Wetherspoons, to small locally owned independents had live promotions upon launch. These companies will be able to access valuable data on shoppers that have interacted with their offers both for ongoing marketing and additional promotional opportunities.

Existing cardholders have been supplied with new cards, and businesses across the town have been advised on how to benefit from the new scheme. The teams at Rewarding Visits and Mansfield BID have also worked closely to create a new microsite and app supporting the technology, featuring live offers and promotions.

Rewarding Visits founder, Guy Chatburn explains: “Mansfield has an extremely forward-thinking BID team that makes it stand out from many other towns. We are very excited to be launching our technology in Mansfield and are sure that it will be a hit with shoppers and local retailers alike. It was fairly straightforward for us to adapt the existing initiative for use with our technology, and our ability to create microsites supporting schemes meant the BID team didn’t need to commission a new website or app.”

Sarah Nelson, manager at Mansfield BID, adds: “We are proud that, once again, Mansfield is one of the first towns in the UK to get such high-tech systems that will help to drive footfall into the town centre.”

Rebecca Wass, owner of boutique childrenswear and gifts shop Jak & Daisy in the town’s Regent Street, says that she has developed offers specifically for the I Love Mansfield card. She says: “This is another positive thing that will help to attract more and more shoppers to Mansfield town centre.”

Rewarding Visits was one of three companies to win funding from Innovate UK in 2015 to develop innovative new technologies to address the challenges facing the high street.

The company introduced its Touchpoints supporting an existing scheme in Sutton Coldfield in the summer of 2016, leading to an increase of 105% in retailer participation in the initiative. Shopper membership in the Sutton trial scheme has grown around 170% since early 2016.

The move comes as reports suggest that the UK high street has suffered its worst February since 2009 as headwinds from the economy and Storm Doris curbed spending, figures show – making investment in mobile ecommerce technology more imperative than ever.

Schemes like this are at the vanguard of a much needed digitisation of the High Street to make it work better for consumers. As we reported, the High Street is far from dead in shoppers’ minds, but it needs to become more smartphone-friendly and digitally enabled to meet their changing needs.

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