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Dudley’s virtual Christmas market now live

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Shoppers are urged to show their support for the borough’s small and independent businesses by shopping local when shopping online this Christmas.

Today (November 10), Dudley Council launched its very first virtual Christmas market as part of its shop local campaign, ahead of this year’s Small Business Saturday on Saturday December 5.

With many non-essential shops and businesses ordered to close until December 2 as part of the government’s tighter coronavirus restrictions, and other local businesses severely impacted by the lockdown, many people will be turning to online shopping once again.

Dudley’s virtual Christmas market allows shoppers to do just that but to support their local high streets in the process.

More than 50 businesses have already signed up to be part of the initiative, showcasing a selection of their products, unique gifts, offers and experiences known as “rewards”.

By visiting the virtual market from the comfort of their own home, residents can choose to shop local and support their independent retailers and businesses, knowing 100% of the profits will go to the business.

The council is running the market on the Crowdfunder platform, which has waived fees to businesses during the course of the market.

People can browse the market at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/markets/dudley-christmas-market where they will find a variety of products and services to purchase including: gift sets, books, handmade jewellery, flowers, sustainable lifestyle products, hampers, vouchers and ‘pay it forward’ gifts for those preferring to support those in need this year.

Some businesses will offer a delivery service or click and collect service, which non-essential shops can do as part of the government’s tighter restrictions.

Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:

The latest restrictions, although necessary to prevent the further spread of the virus, will hit those businesses hard which were hoping to recoup some of the losses they have endured over the last few months in the run up to Christmas - one of the busiest trading times of the year.
Our small and independent retailers and businesses need all the support they can get over the next few weeks and we are encouraging as many traders as possible to get involved to help make our virtual market as varied and exciting as can be.
I would encourage everyone to visit Dudley’s virtual Christmas market when they’re about to embark on some online shopping and help them get through this period of uncertainty so, when this is all over, they can continue to be the life and soul of our town centres.”

Businesses can also benefit from free Small Business Saturday Business Planning Workshops this month.

On Tuesday 17 November there will be a selling online workshop and on Tuesday 24 November there will be a social media marketing workshop.

The online workshops will both run from 8 to 9pm and people can find out more at www.dudleybusinessfirst.org.uk/small-business-saturday/virtual-business-workshops/

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