Plans for ‘digital high street’ for Sutton Coldfield

Mike Bushell and Kim Saunderson_PTP3998

Sutton Coldfield could have a ‘digital high street’ if the town wins a £1.2million competition prize.

Businesses in the town centre are already seeing increases in sales and customers thanks to the Sutton Coldfield loyalty card, ‘Rewards In’, which has now achieved the milestone of 5,000 active users in the five months since its launch.

However, the scheme’s developers, Sutton Coldfield-based business, Rewarding Visits, and the Sutton Coldfield Town Centre BID, are hoping to support business further by getting through to the next stage of an Innovate UK competition, which could ultimately result in them winning £1.2million of funding to create a digital high street in the town.

Their proposal is to take the ‘Rewards In’ scheme to the next level by setting up kiosks in parts of the town centre, displaying adverts and short videos from any local retailer, which would also dispense vouchers with special offers that can be used at any participating retailer.

In order to qualify for the chance to win the funding, Rewarding Visits and Sutton Coldfield Town Centre BID are currently preparing a feasibility study to demonstrate there is a demand from businesses and consumers to set up this technology in the high street.

Mike Bushell, Sutton Coldfield town centre manager, said: “This proposal is an evolution of the ‘Rewards In’ scheme, which gives people using shops, eateries and businesses in the town centre the chance to earn instant rewards and take advantage of special deals in return for their custom.

“Almost 500 organisations entered the Innovate UK competition and we are one of only 20 to have got to this stage. We’re really excited about our proposal and we think the feasibility report, which is being supported by Birmingham Metropolitan College, will demonstrate just how much of a positive impact a digital high street will have on businesses in Sutton Coldfield.”

Mr Bushell also praised the success of the ‘Rewards In’ scheme. He said: “To date, more than 40 businesses in the town have signed up to the project, including Nando’s, Ryman, Apollo, BHS, Patisserie Valerie, Empire Cinema and Don Diego which is fantastic success. We knew it would be popular, but to hit 5,000 active users in such a short space of time is quite an achievement.”

Kim Saunderson, manager of Ryman Stationery, said: “The ‘Rewards In’ scheme has been brilliant. We’re getting a lot of new and repeat customers because they can see the benefits of instant rewards and offers.

“I also really hope Rewarding Visits and Sutton Coldfield Town Centre BID are successful in their bid to secure the Innovate UK funding. It would be great news for Sutton Coldfield’s business community and the public.”

The Rewards In Sutton Coldfield Town Centre card, which is used as either a physical card or a smartphone app, is entirely free to use and will see users receive upgrades, discounts, special offers, freebies and more across a wide range of Sutton Coldfield businesses.


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