Students have been helping to launch a new virtual shopping mall designed to re-energise trade on the high street thanks to a pan-Wales scheme which supports new business start-ups.
Glyndŵr University has been supporting Coedpoeth businessman Nick Allen with his new website Shopwalk3D.com through the Strategic Insight Programme (SIP).
The online tool will connect web users searching for everything from meat to jewellery to the fronts of stores in a virtual shopping mall. Clicking on shop fronts will take users to a shop’s website.
Funding through SIP, designed to promote interaction between universities and other public and private sector organisations, provided help with marketing the launch of the new site in Wrexham last week.
Shops will pay to feature on the website, which Nick believes will connect small, traditional high street stores to new customers.
Jan Green, senior lecturer in management at Glyndŵr University, led the SIP bid. She said: “It’s always valuable for the university to work with a business and to use the products and systems of the business to provide student material.
“This example was particularly useful for our entrepreneurship students, presenting them with the challenge of thinking about the range of activities which contribute to an effective new business launch. Using real examples during lectures brings the subject to life for our students and provides an enhanced learning situation”.
“SIPs are short, focused projects which foster university and employer engagement and we were delighted to be involved.”
Nick said: “I had this idea ten years ago but the technology wasn’t there – the internet was too slow and pages just wouldn’t have loaded quickly enough.
“I got really frustrated trawling through lists after list on Google for products which I wanted and this is where the idea for a 3D shopping mall came from.
“The tool is designed to help lots of small shop owners rather than being aimed at major high street retails.
“I’m passionate about small, local businesses – my wife and I run a B&B – I want to do something to help them, and I think Shopwalk3D will support their needs perfectly.”
Shopwalk is now live at www.Shopwalk3D.com