Our vision for this virtual high street marketplace

2020 was a time for change...

None of us could have anticipated the events of early 2020 and the impact it would have on all of our lives. The Covid: 19 pandemic has affected us all in different ways and we’ve had to adapt to a massive change in our lives. Our small businesses have struggled with closures and restrictions that have lost some all of their income overnight.

As Alloa First, we knew we had to act decisively to support our local businesses somehow. The high street was already struggling to compete with supermarkets and online retailers but when Covid hit we knew it was time to be bold and innovative. 

Digital Help from Co.Lab

We decided to partner with local business and Alloa First member, Co.Lab to support businesses with social media and e-commerce. Our creative conversations in Co.Lab’s office led us to think bigger and explore how we could offer a supermarket-like experience for our small local shops. This would solve one of the core problems: consumer convenience.

Many of our businesses needed digital support, but perhaps the ultimate problem we were trying to solve was one of consumer convenience and maybe the ultimate soloution was a one-stop shop for Alloa itself with delivery built-in as part of the offer. When the Christmas lockdown happened we knew we had to make it happen.

An online marketplace

In around 8 weeks, we’ve developed the solution and worked hard to support our shopkeepers to get onboard and up and running. Co.Lab’s team led the web development and businesses support and we had a small team from the Alloa First Community who were just brilliant in contributing ideas, suggestions and testing. We are incredibly proud of the range of products we have at launch and we are super-excited to add more shops in the coming weeks.

Convenient local shopping

This is a new dawn for many of our local shops and for you as customers. We know from our interviews that people want to buy online from local shops. It’s convenience we’re after a lot of the time, according to people we spoke to. Most of us prefer to buy our meat from a butcher but it’s just easier often to get it in with your big supermarket order. Well, not anymore…

We really hope you’ll give it a go and enjoy the ease with which you can now shop online from one place and get the quality and service that comes with local shopping. We wanted to launch early so we’ve not got all the shops on yet but we’re working around the clock to add more and more businesses. There might be teething problems but we’ll to our best to respond to feedback and make improvements as we go. 

Deliveries twice a week for £1

Deliveries are twice a week to begin with (Tuesdays and Thursdays) but we’ll figure out a way to increase this to meet any demand we see for a more frequent delivery service. We’re learning as we go but we are keen to hear what you think and will do our best to respond to feedback with updates and new features as we go. 

Wishing our shops the best of luck

We wish all of our shops the very best of success in this new venture. We think their products are just fabulous and we are so proud of the way our initial 11 shops have got ready for launch. Other shops are working away in the background to get ready and we should have Aitkens butcher ready for launch by next week and Wilson’s coming soon too.

Want to take a look at our products and pick up some local shopping?

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