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Shop Norfolk loyalty scheme pilot launched by UEA on Norfolk Day

Shop Norfolk, an innovative loyalty scheme pilot from the University of East Anglia (UEA) is being launched on Norfolk Day to help bring the quality of Norfolk produce to the attention of the region’s shoppers, giving them greater incentive to buy local.

Ten independent retailers from across Norfolk will be taking part in the six month pilot project organised by UEA, offering their shoppers free Norfolk produce as consumers build up loyalty points.

The Shop Norfolk Loyalty Scheme pilot will see shoppers being offered the chance to build up Norfolk loyalty points at 10 independent retailers. Once shoppers have reached a set number of loyalty points they will be given the chance to swap the points for a free Norfolk product.

Andrew Fearne from UEA Norwich Business School, said: “This is a pilot research project to see if we can help bring together Norfolk food producers, retailers and shoppers. It’s concerning that shoppers have no links with local food and drink producers, who are often just down the road.

“By taking part in the pilot we will be using the big-data approach of major supermarkets for the benefit of local producers – highlighting what produce retailers could be stocking which consumers would support. Shoppers will also benefit because they will be trying out great local produce they may have been unaware of before.”

Shopkeeper, Nick Thornton  from Sam’s Local Shopper, Pulham Market, (pictured on the right in the photo above with Konrad Maliszewski, UEA Postgraduate Research Student) said: “I am always looking for good ideas to give people a reason to shop in my store. The loyalty scheme sounds like a great idea and I can’t wait to get started!”

The pilot project sees UEA working with The Retail Data Partnership (TRDP) and their Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) data, Norfolk Food and Drink and Buy Local Norfolk.

Glynn Burrows, Chairman of Buy Local Norfolk, said: “Buy Local Norfolk is extremely pleased to be involved with this initiative because it has long been known that buying from local independent businesses has a massive effect on the local economy.

“With a shorter supply chain which is also supporting local independent businesses, much more of the money spent by the consumer remains in the local economy and the whole community benefits. This pilot rewards and encourages people when they shop with these business and that has to be a good thing.”

Colin Kiddell, a Director at Norfolk Food and Drink, said: “With the help of our members and local wholesaler Roger Holmes, Norfolk Food and Drink is very pleased to be supporting UEA with the Shop Norfolk loyalty scheme pilot.

“We see this as a great opportunity to showcase the great range of Norfolk products and make them available in stores which are at the heart of local communities.”

All 10 retailers will be offered ongoing support from UEA with a retail audit, marketing materials and media support to drive footfall and sales.

Independent retailers will be encouraged to stock, promote and store more food and drink from local suppliers and also use these as rewards for shopper loyalty, encouraging a stronger connection between local production, distribution and retail.

Shoppers will be given a loyalty card, giving them rewards in the shape of local produce and money off when they shop. They will have more access to local food and drink, cutting food miles and encouraging wider take up of good quality Norfolk produce.                                                                                                                                             

The results of the pilot will be used to inform and support local independent retailers and demonstrate the value of the ‘buy local’ scheme in Norfolk.

It is hoped it will be possible to attract further research funding and roll out the scheme to more retailers across the county and inform the agri-food business network in Norfolk, Food for Thought.