THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Digital village shopping

Last Friday evening Jon and I enjoyed a lad’s night in and ordered our curry via JustEat from a take-away I have never visited.

This morning’s taxi driver was bemoaning the collapse of his private trade, brought on by the growth of Uber. He believes that within 5 years, my cab to Wilmslow Station will be driverless.

This week, I’m staying 4 nights in a London hotel – given the time and some thought, I could have booked with Airbnb.

As I’ve been cycling the last few days, I’ve noticed the suburban streets of Manchester are clogged with white vans delivering online purchases of food, drink, clothing and entertainment.

2.5 years ago, less than 5% of the revenue into 7connections was for the provision of digital marketing services – it’s now 50% and growing rapidly.

Many of my clients in UK dentistry are now reporting that up to half of their new patient enquiries are as a result of their digital marketing activities.

We aren’t just online, we are mobile.

Local businesses have to fight back – and they can.

Last weekend, my urban home village (one of the most affluent in the UK – cue The Real (?) Housewives of Cheshire) launched it’s own mobile application – “Heart of Hale”.

Each of the participating businesses has a QR-code and, on scanning, loyalty points and special offers are triggered.

The application also uses “beacon” technology, recognising your smartphone as you pass or enter the premises, sending you notifications before you have even entered.

Heart of Hale has just 10 participating member businesses in week 1.

The innovators are:

  1. a coffee shop and deli

  2. a frozen yoghurt store

  3. 2 hairdressers

  4. 3 clothes shops

  5. an independent wine merchant

  6. our local butcher

  7. an interior designer

There are 4 independent private dental practices in the village. I wonder who will be first to see this opportunity?

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