The move is intended to support local businesses
Physical businesses have really suffered during the Coronavirus outbreak, with sales in stores declining heavily, however perhaps unsurprisingly, online purchases are rising at a similar rate. To try and support local entrepreneurs in Drenthe, the Province is investing 135,000 euros in helping in setting up or further expanding ‘digital shopping streets’.
These could can be a joint website, webshop or platform. The idea is that providers ‘open’ an online shop per town or city, allowing residents to continue shopping locally. The Province says that it will give each municipality in Drenthe a subsidy amount of 10,000 to 15,000 euros, so that they can support local entrepreneurs (or their associations).
Digital shopping streets give local entrepreneurs the opportunity to be visible and accessible to their customers during the outbreak and continuing social distancing measures. Deputy Henk Brink of the Province of Drenthe says: “in order to still generate turnover, it is important for local entrepreneurs to offer their products in a different way. The need to digitise is therefore great. We are already seeing initiatives for setting up digital shopping streets in a number of places, such as in Assen and Roden. With this contribution I hope that others will follow this example. And that the inhabitants of Drenthe also use it, because: be loyal, buy locally!”
Research agency Locatus indicates that there are currently only 20% to 40% of the number of visitors in the shopping streets in Drenthe compared to the period before the Coronavirus outbreak.
Collective digital platforms can contribute not only as an additional sales channel, but also by boosting the visibility of local retailers, and that visibility online could ensures viability in the shopping streets.
In addition to this investment in digital shopping streets, the province supports entrepreneurs in Drenthe with the Ik Ben Drents Ondernemer platform. There, individual retailers can receive support in setting up online services.