Following a successful pilot in the north west of England, a national version OFFiGO has now gone live. OFFiGO is a website and app which puts consumers in contact with local shops, restaurants and places to visit. In the pilot, 1.4 million pages of local high street offers and events were viewed.
OFFiGO was created to help local people discover what is available on the high street. The digital platform seeks to increase spend and footfall in the retail and hospitality sector by bringing the ‘high street’ online and enabling customers to find local deals.
OFFiGO to create ‘High street hero’
OFFiGO also gives consumers the chance to become a ‘high street hero.’ They can receive exclusive discounts for creating profile pages of their favourite local businesses. The hero can get up to £10 for purchases or a gift from businesses. OFFiGO will give these businesses free advertising worth £25.
OFFiGO aims to achieve for the High Street what Just Eat, Booking.com and Rightmove have successfully managed for takeaways, hotels and property. The platform aims to harness the power of retail and hospitality brands and independents. It collectively, promotes offers and events together for the benefit of the customer near their stores.
OFFiGO was founded by CEO Dave Preston, who said, “The pilot proved that consumers are interested in local information on their high street. It had over eighty thousand different people visiting the site. They collectively viewed over 1.2 million pages promoting local businesses sharing reasons to eat, drink, shop and have fun locally. “
Mr Preston added, “By bringing the high street together with digital innovation. Businesses such as shops, bars and restaurants can promote offers and events locally through OFFiGO and increase their online visibility. In the trial OFFiGO outperformed major online advertisers, with a click through rate of 3.9%. This compared to Google’s 3.1% and Facebook’s 0.9%.”
Integrating the high street with digital
OFFiGO makes it easier for businesses to share daily “promotional” messages, exclusive offers, events, new menus, new products or entertainment. This approach allows customers to see what is available each day in their local area.
In its trial, Cate McNeil used OFFiGO to promote Christmas markets in Blackpool. Ms McNeil says, “OFFiGO brought us far more visitors than the other local and national websites and directories. My event was a huge success with over 700 adults and over 300 children through the doors. I would recommend businesses to sign up.”
Businesses can refer a business neighbour to subscribe. Both businesses get extra free advertising, collectively they promote double the reasons to visit their high street and increase footfall.
The platform brings the marketing strength of all the brands together online, per location. Combined with the uniqueness of the independents on each high street, it collectively creates a powerful alliance. Consumers are able to find information in one place with the option of visiting the shop’s website. Alternatively, consumers can order online if they do not have the time to go into the store.
OFFiGO also provides geo-location features providing consumers with information that is local to them shared by local businesses. There are plans to implement artificial intelligence within the software. This will enable consumers to find what interests them most, personalising the experience for each user.
Since launching its test site in September 2017, OFFiGO has won funding and support from Ordnance Survey’s Geovation. It was recently given access to $120,000 in support funding by tech giants IBM to help with the development of the national platform.
Chris Parker of Ordnance Survey’s Geovation, says, “Your local community is something you cannot buy online. Furthermore, the high street is a big part of it being a successful one. OFFiGO is an innovative digital solution to help high streets, their customers and their communities.”
Enterprise Times: what this means for businesses?
We’re living in a world where consumers have, on average, three connected devices and spend about 4 hours a day on their mobile. When they’re on those devices, a third of the time they’re interacting on social channels. By 2020, consumers will have, on average, 10 connected devices.
At the same time, we are witnessing the alleged death of the high street in the UK. Every week, there is the routine closure of household retail names such as Maplin, House of Fraser or Alders.
According to the Office of National Statistics, 1,772 shops disappeared from Britain’s town centres last year, as 18.2p of every £1 expenditure by shoppers is spent online
Consequently, any initiative such as OFFiGO that integrates digital eCommerce and drives footfall to the high street should be welcomed. To survive, bricks and mortar retailers much provide ‘added value’ to encourage visitors through the door.
By bringing the high street together, consumers can find the latest offers from shops, bars and restaurants as well as activities and events locally. The high street is evolving and despite its challenges still offers plenty of reasons to visit.