North East Connected

Growing Not For Profit Gets a Smarter Look

GROWING ethical lenders Smarterbuys Store has launched its new-look website after a full rebrand of the site to support its expansion into a wider market.

Headquartered in Durham, not-for-profit Smarterbuys Store which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, was originally set up in 2012 in a partnership between an ethical community bank and established housing associations helping customers access affordable loans for vital household furniture and goods.

Last year the lender announced it was expanding its reach to all low income households, following its £500,000 investment boost from the North East Social Investment Fund managed by Newcastle-based investor Northstar Ventures.

The investment in the new interactive website will make applications for goods easier and quicker, and deliver a faster approval response and delivery time.

Web design company Strive Digital, based in Berwick upon Tweed, beat off competition from five other digital agencies to win the re-development contract.

Managing director of Strive Digital, Steven Walker, said: “Our key focus was on user experience, both from the customers point of view when completing a credit application and from the perspective of the Smarterbuys Store staff when processing that same application.

“The beauty of the new system is that everything can now be accessed and maintained from the same single location, be it; shop products, credit applications, customer accounts or reporting. The staff seem delighted with the difference it will make to their everyday working lives.”

Acknowledging that the not-for-profit sector has been undergoing a major digital transformation lately, Smarterbuys Store’s chief executive Vicky McCourt believes it was the right time to ensure that all of their platforms were fully optimised to maximise engagement with customers.

She added: “Working with Strive Digital has been wonderful, their team is extremely responsive to our requirements as well as offering great advice and the site looks so much more professional and enticing than before. We look forward to seeing the positive results now that the website is live.”

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