Cromer traders open door on new ‘digital high street’
Shops and services in a traditional town centre have opened the door on a new digital high street.
Traders in Cromer are the first in East Anglia to join a new My High Street website aimed at keeping them competitive in the on-line age.
Shoppers can browse for products or location - but as well as buying on-line, they will be able to click and collect, or be attracted to visit the town having been tempted by the range of services it has to offer.
Chamber of trade president Tracey Khalil said it was just part of the solution as town centre shops fought to deal with changing shopping patterns.
Traders were also battling for better parking, signage, and to keep the town centre looking smart too.
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'Cromer is a holiday resort, but it is also an important centre service local people too, who rely on us every day. The key thing is providing good personal service, and product knowledge,' she added.
Town crier Jason Bell ushered in the new age today, Monday, switching his traditional scroll for a new iPad tablet for his announcement of the online high street offering 'bits and bytes' to help 'local shops stay local.'
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And mayor David Pritchard said: 'We are setting out a bright future with this launch - the town's independent retailers showing the power of working together.'
About a quarter of Cromer's 60 business have signed up so far - from sandwich and chocolate shops, to carpet sales, gifts, galleries, cafes and bed and breakfast.
MyHigh.St founder Loaye Agabani added: 'People want to feel good about shopping, but they also want convenience. The internet must be embraced - with an amazing 80pc of all products bought in store found online first. If we don't put ourselves in that market we lose on sales.' Local shops also had the advantage of being driven by passionate people delivering great products with great service.
Local website co-ordinator Barry Meadows said the idea began at Wells in the West Country, and he saw the potential for bringing it to Cromer.
'MyHigh gives customers a good shopping experience, with the knowledge that they are supporting independent shops.'
Marcus Hickling from the Artyfax gift shop said the website was a 'perfect hybrid solution to entice customers back to the high street' and praised Cromer traders for recognising the need to change.
The site is financed through commissions paid by shops when they make sales.
See the Cromer site at www.myhigh.st/cromer