Communities are currently experiencing difficult times and with centralized government support being withdrawn across a range of areas, there is an increasing need for local businesses and organisations to be more proactive. In lieu of more traditional forms of backing, recent developments have seen business networking groups and Chambers of Commerce step up to look at new ways of supporting local businesses and the towns in which they are based. One of the most interesting examples of this is the use of Smart phone apps.
A perfect illustration of this new era of support is the Lewes Chamber of commerce iPhone and Android app that is being developed to support local businesses, both directly and through promoting the town and the surrounding area. The iPhone and Android app will offer visitors to the area the chance to get to know Lewes in advance of visiting, from working up a thirst reading about the famous Harvey’s Brewery, to planning trips to historic landmarks like Lewes Castle. The app is a fantastic way to promote a visit to Lewes, a town once described by William Morris as “set down better than any town I have seen in England,” and in turn to support local businesses that will benefit from an influx of trade.
The Lewes Chamber of commerce iPhone and Android app that is being developed to support local businesses means the Chamber of Commerce is providing a bridge from local East Sussex companies into a global digital marketplace – one that is growing substantially by the day. Apps are accessed mostly through Smart phones and in 2011, there were 70% more Smart phones in the UK than in 2009 – that’s a huge increase and one that’s like to continue as it is estimated that 82% of phones in Europe will be Smart phones by 2013, opening up the reach of the app even further. In March 2012 were 25 billion downloads made from the Apple Store alone so this is not a market to be taken lightly! For any organization that is serious about competing, digital marketing – and specifically app use – is a must, and for organizations like the Lewes Chamber of Commerce, that are looking to support local businesses, this kind of forward thinking step is inspired.
IPhone and Android app developer Insight Mobile is the company behind the Lewes Chamber of Commerce app and has been instrumental in getting Sussex organizations on the map, developing this and other similar apps for business networking organizations in the area. Catherine Lane, MD of Insight Mobile says, “We understand that businesses need to use every possible marketing channel to reach potential clients and customers and the app is an enormously effective way of doing this. Organisations like the Lewes Chamber of Commerce are demonstrating that they can better serve their members with this kind of intuitive use of technology than relying on less effective, outdated marketing methods.”