A York-created mobile phone app, Connected-York, is offering support to businesses and residents as the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic are being felt more severely on the high-street and retail in general.
The app, which was created by two York residents, has been used to promote businesses in a real-time environment to residents and visitors alike since July 2019. However, since the COVID-19 outbreak, the founders have refocused how the app can be deployed over the coming months – and are offering it completely free to any retailer or relevant business in the local area.
Andrew Stark, Co-founder, said;
“The core purpose of the app was to give physical retail a firmer footing in the digital world. It’s always had ‘connectivity’ at it’s heart and we’ve recognised how it can be a benefit to retailers and residents at a time when they are in their most need.
We‘ve spoken to lots of worried businesses recently – this isn’t about profit or shareholders – it’s about business survival and people’s livelihood.”
Andrew, and Co-Founder Melissa Magson, both from York, are encouraging businesses to create a free profile on the app to let residents know they are open for business, offer delivery or collection and particularly if they are offering essential services and support. This has been made as flexible as possible as some small businesses don’t have online selling capabilities – but are contactable nevertheless.
Recent interest and created a surge in downloads of the app as well as retailers signing up to the platform from food delivery, exercise classes, mental health support, things to do to keep children entertained and much more.
The app works simply by showing content relevant to the app user. They can view it by proximity, or by categories if they wish. Each retailer has a profile and a ‘promotion’ which advertises what they are offering. Importantly, it connects the consumer with the retailer – the app takes no commission from any sale.
Melissa Magson, Co-founder, continues;
“We’re offering this technology solution at no cost and no commitment – for both users and for businesses. People’s needs have changed dramatically over the past week or so, and there’s a huge emphasis on home delivery and collection. There are other emerging needs too – such as IT and technical support for home workers, online learning and any form of entertainment for children who may be facing weeks at home.”
Being York residents, both founders are advocates of physical retail and how independent businesses in particular shape the character and identity of a city. York is a prime example of this, and the effects of the Coronovirus lock-down is already having some catastrophic effects.
“Sadly we’ve already seen some businesses cut their losses and close their doors for good. We don’t know what retail will look like after this, but will do our best to help support it and encourage others to do so too.”
Businesses can create a free profile and post their services under categories such as “Food & Drink”, “Essentials”, “Open for Business”, “Delivery & Collection”, “Boredom Breakers” and “Home Working Support”.
Residents can download the app for free from the Apple and Google stores.