Hamilton’s e-MarketPlace? Helping businesses sell online

Work has started on the creation of a new multi-vendor platform to support businesses in Hamilton – funded by Hamilton Our Town Business Improvement District with support from the Scottish Government???s Resilience Fund.

The new site ??? expected to ??? go live??? this month (June) ??? is designed to provide a new FREE platform, primarily for those businesses who are not trading online but need help in doing so.

BID Manager, Gareth Walker, explains: ???Since the lockdown, we have been sharing updates with businesses and customers on a whole range of Covid-19 related issues. This has included support for our levy-payers as well as key information to advise residents on what is available from our businesses during the lockdown. Naturally, all of this engagement has been through our managed digital channels.???

Gareth adds: ???The development is in the very first stage ??? reaching out to businesses to ask how we can best help ??? and we are already hearing from those who want to be a part of this much needed and exciting programme.???

When the Covid-19 BIDs resilience fund was announced by Scotland???s Towns Partnership for and on behalf of the Scottish Government, Hamilton Our Town made an application to create a multi-vendor platform. Gareth says: ???Through our work – especially over the last two years – we have become increasingly aware of the importance of digital communication, not only for the BID but also for our levy payers. The Covid-19 lockdown has heightened the need for businesses to have a better digital presence and, where those have little or no digital footprint, we are able to help. The multi-vendor platform will provide a foot on the digital ladder for those businesses who most need it.???

Hamilton???s Business Improvement District is ahead of many in Scotland. Since 2018, it has invested significantly in managed, integrated digital services.??Bill Reid, Vice Chair of Hamilton Our Town says: ???In that time, with the backing of our Board and the support of our levy payers, we have been able to provide a managed public realm Wi-Fi network that covers much of the town centre and provides free access to residents and visitors. We now have more than 11,500 subscribers who receive regular??updates??from the BID.???

In the same period of time, the BID has engaged with businesses and the wider community to share live and engaging content from Hamilton with an ever-growing audience across a range of digital platforms. Bill adds: ???We now have more than 8,000 followers across??social??media channels – and our channels are run seven days a week between 8am and 10pm.???

In March, the BID launched a Blog -??https://www.hamiltonourtown.blog/??- that not only includes mapped and categorised listings of every business in the BID area but also provides a channel to share more content that showcases all that Hamilton has to offer. In a relatively short space of time, we have??attracted??readers from more than 100 cities across 22 countries. We are??helping??to share Hamilton???s message far and wide.

Gareth concludes: ???Digital is at the very heart of all we do ??? not only as a business improvement district but in our everyday lives as businesses and customers. Crucially, through our BIDs own commitment and investment, the multi-vendor platform will exist beyond the resilience fund timetable to deliver a legacy project that will deliver benefit long after the lockdown ends – aiding the BID and town???s recovery. We are delighted our application was awarded funding.???

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