Virtual shop windows are right up your street in Devizes
8:00am Friday 24th January 2014 in By Jill Crooks, Devizes area senior reporter
Devizes is to be the pilot town for a digital marketing scheme that aims to bring in more shoppers and tourists.
iStreet is an App that has been developed by digital marketing and communications company VirtualXpo.
iStreet will list businesses, tourist attractions and other general information and aims to be a virtual shop window.
VirtualXpo, founded by Paul Nicholson of Salisbury, gave a presentation at a market towns forum organised by Wiltshire Council in December.
Devizes, through the Community Area Partner-ship, was the first town to sign up and the launch of iStreet for Devizes will take place in June. Wessex Chambers of Commerce are working with VirtualXpo to attract other towns to become involved during 2014 ahead of a national roll-out in 2015.
Philip Mackie, manager of Devizes Community Area Partnership, said iStreet fitted into DCAP’s intention to attract more tourist coaches to the town.
He said: “We are keen to promote Devizes to the wider world. It’s not going to cost us anything.
“The benefits we can see is that it’s going to be better than a directory and a Google search – the whole town would be in one place and every business on iStreet would have its own screen.
“With talk about the High Street dying, VirtualXpo is hoping to extend the High Street into the internet and vice versa. It’s an ambitious project and if they can make it work, I think it will be very good.”
iStreet will be available on various digital devices such as PCs and mobile phones.
Colin Netting, iStreet business development manager who lives in Shrewton, said: “The main reason for doing this is to encourage people to the High Street.
“We are just trying to harmonise the retail side of the business with the online side of the business.
“Devizes has a nice mix of businesses – there are 250 businesses we hope will come on board with us, and tourist heritage areas.
“The idea is iStreet will have anything and everything that a visitor to Devizes is likely to want to know, for example what the parking is like there, what businesses they may want to visit.
“There will be maps and each business will have a picture/image and contact details, email address and access to Twitter and Facebook features.
“There will also be an e-commerce facility to allow businesses to sell online if they want to.”
For businesses with less then ten employees the first year will be free, after which the yearly charge is £99 – the same charge for businesses with more than ten employees.
DCAP will be contacting businesses to invite them to be involved with iStreet and will be providing information about Devizes to go on iStreet.