Four South Tyneside retailers have gained a place on the high street through what’s thought to be the first digital shopping wall to promote the local community.
The wall, in an empty shop in King Street, South Shields, features tea and gift shop Mac ‘N Alli, Little Angels, which sells cards and gifts, jewellery company The Finishing Touch, and The Customs House theatre.
Each has their own QR code on the shopping wall, which can be found on the window of an empty shop. When shoppers scan a QR code they’re taken to the relevant company’s online shop or website.
The digital wall comes from a joint venture between South Tyneside Council and Wiltshire company City Dressing, which specialises in transforming city and town centres using a range of solutions.
“Although we create all kinds of imaginative solutions to transform city centre spaces, this is the first time we’ve created a digital shopping wall which will link shoppers directly to the internet,” said Jeremy Rucker of City Dressing. “We worked with South Tyneside Council to pick four different companies who could benefit from this kind of presence but at present can’t afford to take premises on the high street.
“It’s a perfect solution for them and one which we believe many other towns and cities will now follow.”
Dee Clayton, of Mac and Alli’s, said: “Because we’re quite tucked away in Westoe Crown Village and don’t really have a budget for advertising, we’ve had to rely on word of mouth so something like this helps get some attention.
“We’re very keen for people to find out who we are and what we’re about so we jumped at the chance to be involved.”
Cllr Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, said the digital wall gave small businesses a higher profile.
“The ultimate aim,” he said, “is to create enough awareness and to drive enough business to these retailers so that they are able to eventually have a physical presence on the high street.”