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Bexleyheath uses technology to help its High Street

PUBLISHED: 11:03 04 December 2014

The BID Project with Broadway Shopping Centre Manager Peter Sedge, Dilip Shah of Gallery Gifts and Ian Payne Bexleyheath BID Project Manager. Pic: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

The BID Project with Broadway Shopping Centre Manager Peter Sedge, Dilip Shah of Gallery Gifts and Ian Payne Bexleyheath BID Project Manager. Pic: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

It has installed ‘Near Field Communication’ to around 40 shops

Bexleyheath is set to become the first town in the UK to make the most of a cutting edge smart device technology system.

Around 40 local businesses, including several in Broadway Shopping Centre, have placed Near Field Communications (NFC) logo tags in their shop windows as part of a new drive to connect with their customers.

Shoppers are able to run their smart devices over the logos, which use the same Wi-Fi technology which underpins contactless card payments, and be instantly connected with the latest offers, discounts and information about the shop in front of them before even stepping foot through the door.

Bexleyheath is the first town in the UK to benefit from the high-tech up to the minute software system and it has been implemented by the Bexleyheath Business Partnership (BBP) which has established a business improvement district (BID) for its town centre.

The partnership is made up of a collection of local businesses, Bexley Council, the police and other organisations. They all work together to create a more prosperous town centre.

When shoppers run their smart device over the shop window logos, they are taken directly to the BBP website where stores, restaurants and other companies participating in the NFC project can upload all their latest offers, vouchers and unique selling points to encourage their customers through the door.

It is the first time that a system of this kind has been implemented for an entire town centre. The man behind the idea is Ian Payne, Bexleyheath BID manager, who saw it being used effectively with individual businesses in other areas of the UK and recognised its potential as an effective and collective marketing tool for the whole of Bexleyheath.

Mr Payne said: “The new NFC system, which has cost £1,200 to implement and is funded by the BID, is part of our ongoing efforts to encourage more footfall, new businesses and healthy trade for Bexleyheath town centre.

“Footfall for the town is already one per cent above the national average and we want to continue this trend using every possible technology available. We already use the power of social media and we all know how effective this can be, so we are now taking things a step further by investing in this very latest smart-device logo system.

“The businesses involved can use it as an effective marketing tool to ensure their customers have instant access to the most up-to-date information and offers associated with their business and we want to encourage as many businesses as possible to get involved.”

One of the businesses which is using the technology is gallery Gifts.

Its owner, Dilip Shah, said: “Retail is a very competitive market and you really do need to be one step ahead in terms of the latest technology to understand how your customers want to shop.

“We do have a website but I am the first to admit that I think we could be doing more to engage customers via the internet, social media and technology so I am pleased to be part of this UK first town centre-wide project.”

Peter Sedge, Broadway Centre manager, said: “The beauty of this new system is that it not only benefits the individual businesses in Bexleyheath but also the town centre as a whole which we believe is key to maintaining and encouraging future prosperity for everyone.

“By directing them to offers and discounts for the participating stores on the partnership website, you are also directing them to all sorts of other news, events and information about the whole town which might be of interest to them.

“I think it is an exciting and innovative new project which we are keen to encourage more stores within Broadway Shopping Centre to be a part of.”

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