Breckland Council plans to create a ‘digital high street’ to make shopping at small high street shops and independent retailers easier for people.
The council will work with ShopAppy to bring independent shopkeepers together in Attleborough – as well as Thetford, Dereham, Swaffham and Watton – to be part of one mobile-friendly website.
Customers will be able to browse products and pay for them in one transaction, while also being able to click and collect their goods at one of the shops or a designated pick-up-point in their town.
Council leader William Nunn said: “We know that many people want to shop locally and support independent shops but, above all, they want convenience.
“Independent stores and small retailers add character to our high streets but many don’t have the resources to have a virtual presence, so it’s important that we assist them to survive and thrive.
“Our rural villages also rely on our market towns as hubs, so we need to do all we can to support them by fighting the challenges high streets up and down the country are facing.
“This exciting new venture will help level the playing field for our towns’ independent shops that are competing with supermarkets and other big retailers.”
Breckland will become the first council outside of Yorkshire to roll-out the project.
The council, which will subsidise the first 200 businesses that sign up, will initially work with ShopAppy for three years as part of its Market Town Initiative, which aims to ensure each of Breckland’s towns remain vibrant and sustainable in the long-term.
The council will work with businesses to encourage them to sign up.