A NEW programme aiming to attract shoppers back to town and district centres in St Helens by harnessing digital technology has been launched.

The initiative, Local Rewards, a collaboration between St Helens Borough Council, St Helens Chamber and social media specialists Maybe* Tech aims to help businesses recover from the impact of Covid-19 by giving them the support they need to reach more customers and make more sales.

The programme will launch featuring more than 500 high street businesses from across the region.

READ>Recognise anyone from this gathering with Saints skipper Kel Coslett

Funded  by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s town centre fund, Local Rewards allows businesses to communicate with, and reward shoppers, when they hit the high streets.

It has been created with the intention of "levelling the playing field" between local retailers and online giants.

Businesses can also cross-promote and support their high street neighbours to create an online network of connected traders.

Cllr Kate Groucutt, the council’s cabinet member for education, skills and business, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and a shift in consumer behaviour has changed the way we shop.

“This programme with Maybe* Tech looks to support our high street businesses to adapt to a new way of shopping.

“Maybe* Tech provide extensive support through training and tools for all types of businesses and we hope our local economy take up this exclusive offer of free support for the first 12 months.”

Every business that signs up to manage their listing on the Local Rewards high street guide will also have access to an extensive range of social media tools and training provided by Maybe* Tech.

Polly Barnfield OBE, CEO of Maybe* Tech, said: “Around two thirds of shoppers regularly look online for inspiration and the Local Rewards programme groups all social media content by location to encourage people to browse their local high street and then rewards them for their local spend.”