Dorking goes digital

British highstreets face unprecedented challenges. Competition from ecommerce, parking restrictions, and the uncertainty of Brexit.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) indicates that currently e-commerce accounts for just over 16 percent of all UK retail sales. By 2030, according to ParcelHero’s David Jinks, that number will rise to 40 percent. It is estimated that if current trends continue, between 2020 and 2030, half of the UK’s existing highstreet shops will disappear.

What are highstreet retailers to do? What does that mean for customers? We must evolve.

We choose to embrace technology

Dorking has a heritage of innovation and an independent spirit. We have decided to embrace technology to engage customers in new and innovative ways — both with those who live in Dorking and those visiting our town.

Dorking is now offering customers a one-stop app that provides special offers, news, attractions, events and parking information, all from their phone. We call it DorkingLoyalFree.

We’ve teamed up with LoyalFree, the multiple award-winning company founded by Sophie Hainsworth and Jason Nesbitt. LoyalFree has won awards in the ‘Business Improvement Through Technology’ category at the East Midlands Chamber Awards, whilst Co-Founder Sophie Hainsworth won ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Leicester Mercury Women in Business Awards. They are helping Business Improvement Districts (BID) across the country increase customer loyalty and footfall.

Our goal is to increase awareness about Dorking businesses and build customer loyalty.

LoyalFree works anywhere in the UK and is geotargeted to one’s phone. So when a customer arrives in Dorking or in any town or city that has engaged with LoyalFree, they can scroll through their app to find events, parking and special deals in shops, cafes, attractions and more.

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In addition to embracing new technology to engage our customers, we are currently building a new modern Dorking website and have increased our social media engagement to raise the town’s profile in key geographic locations. We applied for the Great British High Street Awards in the Rising Star digital category and though we weren’t shortlisted, we received a Special Mention. We wish those who were shortlisted the best of luck and we hope that they receive the recognition they deserve.

We are also working with our community partners to perserve the essence of Dorking’s charm, uniqueness, and hospitality. Together with our digital approach, our community, our business partners, and our gumption — we will perservere.

All eyes on Dorking

Just recently Dorking Museum was recognised by BBC Surrey as one of their ‘Things to Do’ in Surrey.

Thanks to visionary chefs, butchers, brewers and innovators, Dorking is leading revolutions in local food, pastry, craft spirits and beer, putting Dorking on the world’s culinary radar. Sorrel Restaurant was recognised by MichelinUK, AA and by Surrey Life with a Michelin Star, the Best Restaurant in England and the Best Restaurant in Surrey. The Dorking Butchery was recognised again by Surrey Life for customer service and as best butchery in Surrey.

And we’ve got our eyes set on the Mayflower 2020 horizon as we have the only remaining Pilgrim house in the United Kingdom — after all, American Presidents claim ancestry to the Mullins family through the Mullins’s daughter Priscilla Alden.

Come and see what is brewing in Dorking. But before you do, be sure to download @LoyalFree on your phone to get your Dorking Destination Guide, see your special offers, and start experiencing our indepenent shops, cafes, attractions.



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