As lots of local businesses have had to find new ways to trade in these past few weeks, LoyalFree has offered a lifeline to a number of city centre shops, bars and venues.

The multi award-winning app, which began life here in Leicestershire, was originally created to help high-street businesses increase sales, reward customers and provide local tours and trails. Now, through their partnership with BID Leicester, they’ve launched the LoyalFree Marketplace to help city centre businesses through their recovery period.

Allowing independent businesses to sell products online, without any charge or commission except a small payment processing fee – if they are part of BID Leicester, the Marketplace has already offered a lifeline to businesses. Already online you can purchase vouchers for a future cocktail masterclass at Manhattan34 or pick up some products from independent health store, Healthy Route.

manhattan34 cocktail leicester
Buy a voucher for a Cocktail Masterclass at Manhattan34

Sophie Hainsworth, Co-Founder of LoyalFree, said, “The marketplace is a real lifeline for independent businesses during this time, with a focus on helping those who do not have their own website or e-commerce platform. It means they can quickly sell online without being subject to high commission fees on other platforms. The real value is to allow businesses to sell products, vouchers or future experiences online to secure critical cash flow now.”

Since launching at the beginning of May the Marketplace has seen great results already. The Beautiful Pubs Collective was an early adopter and received £1,000 worth of orders for a Greek Banquet within the first week.

loyalfree marketplace

Sam Hagger from Beautiful Pubs said, ‘We were extremely impressed with LoyalFree’s turnkey solution to allow our traditionally offline business to sell online quickly & efficiently. We registered with LoyalFree, the integrated Stripe merchant service & received our first order in just less than two hours. I would highly recommend any traditionally offline business explores this opportunity to sell, especially if you are BID Leicester levy payer to whom this service is free.”

With the pandemic creating such unknown territory for many businesses, LoyalFree included, it’s really been a time for owners to look at new ways that they can serve their customer base, or to adapt their business to survive. Sophie added, “It’s absolutely vital to keep an eye on your business direction, with or without a global pandemic. I think the key is to always be aware of how the market is changing to pre-empt how you can adapt and grow. The current situation came without much warning so required adjusting at high speed and being very flexible. 

It’s important to look at your clients and perspective clients – what do they want? What are they missing? And then being able to quickly fill those gaps and help. Technology gives you the amazing opportunity to do this. For us, we adjusted our offering to create a plan which supports the recovery of the high street. We’ve done this through adapting our services, for example trails which show open businesses or highlight deliveries.”

Simon Jenner, Director of BID Leicester, added, “I’m delighted that we are able to offer LoyalFree marketplace to BID levy-payers, providing a quick and easy solution for those without their own online store to continue serving their customers. I’d urge other BID Businesses to make the most of this platform – whether selling products or gift vouchers for dinner or drinks to be enjoyed at a future date, LoyalFree marketplace can help support businesses with vital sales income whilst city centre premises remain closed.

If you’re a BID levy payer and would like to use the Marketplace platform you can register online.

If you’re looking to shop local and support independent then hop over to the LoyalFree Marketplace.

You can also still make use of the LoyalFree app at this time with discounts and trails across Leicester and Loughborough.


Our BID Spotlight features are brought to you in collaboration with BID Leicester.

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