ServeBack: How to support local businesses in your area

ServeBack: How to support local businesses in your area

The team behind the innovative new website explain how customers can find the products they need while also supporting their local economy in these challenging times

As local businesses continue to be hit by the effects of COVID-19, and in turn by the essential social distancing measures that have been put into place, now more than ever is the time to support the communities around us to ensure that they continue to thrive beyond the lockdown. With this in mind, a team at the Glasgow-based digital product studio Neu have created ServeBack, a website that is designed to give you an easy way to find and support local businesses near you. By putting in your postcode, the website shows you local spots that will deliver to your area or that you can buy a gift voucher from for future use. We caught up with the team behind ServeBack to find out more about the initiative and how it aims to help businesses during these challenging times.

What is ServeBack and how did this idea come together?
ServeBack provides an easy way to support local businesses in your area who have been forced to change what or how they sell during the coronavirus pandemic. This could be a bar who's switched to alcohol delivery or a bakery who's doing online order and pickup.

The idea came about around a week ago when we began to hear of businesses that were changing their business models in really innovative ways in order to keep going during the national lockdown. We wanted a place where we could discover the business in our local area who were doing this and at the same time find out how to get Friday's beer delivered to our door.

What are the primary goals behind the initiative?
The primary goal of the platform is to provide a marketplace where customers looking for products locally are matched with businesses who are delivering those products in new and interesting ways to overcome the current challenges. In doing so, it's hoped users will provide revenue to these businesses during these hard times.

What has the response been like so far from businesses and the public alike? How many businesses are currently signed up?
Really great so far. In the last 24 hours we've had over 100 businesses added at a exponential rate from a mixture of business owners themselves and their customers. Businesses have been added the length and breadth of the UK.

Anecdotally, we've had users tell us that this is exactly what they've been looking for – a way to find the products they currently need while also supporting their local economy.

What else can members of the public do to support local businesses during this period of uncertainty?
There's two main ways that members of the public can help support local businesses. The first is to try and shift a proportion of your spend to local businesses who are offering either pick-up or delivery services. That may mean ordering from a local butcher who delivers rather than ordering from a supermarket.

Secondly, gift cards and vouchers are a great way to flatten the economic curve for businesses during this time. Revenue from gift cards right now helps businesses survive and they can be redeemed once the business has made it though the current economic stresses.

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