Colu launched its local digital currency in Liverpool in 2017. This new digital currency, known both as Colu and Local Pound Liverpool, is only available to locally owned and run businesses. Colu’s idea is to encourage people to support the local economy using it’s purely digital currency, running on a smartphone app.
There are currently more than 300 businesses in Liverpool and Wirral that accept Colu payments, ranging from coffee shops and restaurants to art supply shops and gift shops and even a dentist!
The company’s vision states: “Through the use of local currencies, more people shop local, eat local, buy local, and live local, strengthening the local economy, and keeping the control of money in everyone’s hands.”
I was commissioned to produce some photographs, showing 3 outlets that accept Colu payments: “Rococo” on Lord Street, “Bean There” on Penny Lane and “Lovelocks” on Old Haymarket. The photographs shown here are from the shoot and were used in blog posts and on social media by Colu.
Colu says, “We firmly believe that a ‘strong’ local community is a place where small independent businesses are thriving. We think that this is extremely important because these independent businesses are the backbone of our communities. We also believe that the community currency empowers individuals by giving them a stake in their local communities, becoming, in part, an ‘owner’ of their local community.”
Gary Millar, assistant mayor of Liverpool, says, “We know when people spend money locally with an independent, 65p in the pound stays local. If they spend it with a big global organisation, it will be about 30p instead.”
To summarise, Colu want to foster a sense of community among local areas. It wants to help locals support independent businesses while giving businesses a more efficient way to manage payments. Here are some of the key features:
• Easy to Pay: You don’t need to bring your wallet or credit cards with you. You can use Colu’s digital wallet to pay at local businesses.
• Find Retailers Through the App: The app features a map of local retailers that accept payments via the Colu app. Scroll through the list or the map based on your desired category – like bars and restaurants or clothing stores.
• Get More for your Money: Businesses offer discounts and special deals for customers using Colu currencies. You can build a relationship with your local merchants while also getting special “locals only” rates.
• Instant Mobile Payments: Pay right from your phone without reaching for your wallet. Basically, the merchant displays a QR code, and you scan that QR code using the Colu app.
Here are the links to the blog posts mentioned earlier:
Rococo, Lord Street, Liverpool >>> https://blog.colu.com/share-love-rococo-alderhey/
Bean There, Penny Lane, Liverpool >>> https://blog.colu.com/share-love-bean-claire-house/
Lovelocks, Old Haymarket, Liverpool >>> https://blog.colu.com/share-love-lovelocks-l-m-h-c/