Berkhamsted High Street Goes Digital
Up and down the country, our local high streets are in crisis and if we do nothing, many of the shops and restaurants we love will close. This predicament is being tackled head-on by Loql, a Berkhamsted based not for profit consortium of technologists and local businesspeople with a plan to help.
They are creating a single, powerful online store for the whole of Berkhamsted that any local shop or restaurant can use to take digital orders. They believe that by combining the power of digital and the convenience of the high street, they can create brilliant customer experiences and loyalty to the local businesses.
‘This platform is not about decreasing high street footfall, but about enabling those locals who would normally shop online, to do it locally,’ commented Matt Lindop, Founder of Loql. ‘The bar to entry for digital is too high, making it hard for independent retailers to keep up with customer expectations.’
The company’s ambitions aren’t just digital though. The explosion in online shopping during Covid has also led to a huge increase in delivery vehicles on our roads, creating emissions, pollution and congestion – often while rewarding delivery drivers poorly. In partnership with another local company, Estarli, they are about to start piloting a zero-emission electric vehicle service for the town’s businesses to be able to call on.
While this model is just being rolled out in Berkhamsted, the team’s plans are much wider:
‘We’re designing this to work in and for any community,’ said Lindop. ‘The secret is getting businesses to realise they’re not competing with each other, and can reduce costs, improve customer service and even create more jobs and training opportunities by working more closely together.’
You can access the website here: https://berko.loql.ly/