Oxford City Council, Experience Oxfordshire, Independent Oxford and The Oxford Times refresh campaign to support retailers this Christmas

Published: Wednesday, 2nd December 2020

Oxford City Council, Experience Oxfordshire, Independent Oxford and The Oxford Times have refreshed their campaign to support retailers this Christmas.

The four organisations have been working together to promote businesses during the lockdown, and encourage people to support local traders by shopping online.

But now, with Oxford moving out of lockdown, the campaign will encourage residents to do their Christmas shopping in Oxford city centre.

As part of the campaign, Experience Oxfordshire and Independent Oxford have launched new websites to promote shopping in the city centre.

The campaign will also feature digital and non-digital advertising, editorial in The Oxford Times and social media promotion across all four organisations’ channels.

During the lockdown the City Council created a directory to highlight the Oxford businesses that are operating online. The City Council will continue to maintain this, so residents who cannot visit the city centre can still support local businesses.

The run-up to Christmas is a crucial time for businesses, with many making the majority of their year’s revenue during this ‘golden quarter’.

Experience Oxfordshire

Experience Oxfordshire has launched a new website to encourage people to do their Christmas shopping in Oxford.

The site includes information about the best shopping locations in Oxford city centre, including the Covered Market, Westgate Oxford and the Clarendon Centre.

It also includes information about the wider city centre offer, including socially-distanced walking tours, museums and galleries.

The site is aimed at Oxford and Oxfordshire residents – and those living further afield.

Experience Oxfordshire is also working with Visit England on its England Originals campaign, which will see historic cities across England – including Oxford – promoted as tourist attractions to the domestic audience.

Independent Oxford

Independent Oxford has created an online and interactive map showcasing independent shops in the city centre.

The map includes videos and audio recordings with some of the shop owners, alongside information about the business, opening times and contact details.

The map can be viewed on the Independent Oxford website.

Independent Oxford works to support, promote and champion independent businesses in Oxford and Oxfordshire.

Wider campaign

Over the last month, the City Council, The Oxford Times, Experience Oxfordshire and Independent Oxford have been working to promote the city’s businesses.

The focus of the campaign has been a directory of Oxford businesses that have been operating online during the lockdown:.

The City Council will continue to update the directory so that people who cannot visit the city centre can continue to support local businesses this Christmas.

The campaign has also included:

  • The City Council promoting the directory and the Covered Market’s website through online and offline advertising
  • The Oxford Times, supported by the City Council, offering free advertising opportunities in the paper to Oxford’s businesses
  • Experience Oxfordshire and Independent Oxford promoting the campaign through their channels

The City Council has written to businesses in Oxford offering them the opportunity to be promoted during the campaign.

Separately, the City Council is working with Oxfordshire County Council to support Oxford’s businesses by offering free parking at park and rides, and pedestrianising areas of the city centre to provide cafés, pubs and restaurants with outdoor seating areas.                 

“This has been an extremely difficult time for businesses in Oxford, and the run-up to Christmas is even more vital than normal for many.

“You can do your bit to help Oxford’s businesses by purchasing your Christmas presents locally – and we have teamed up with Experience Oxfordshire, Independent Oxford and The Oxford Times to make that as easy as possible.

“If you are able to visit Oxford city centre in person this Christmas, Experience Oxfordshire and Independent Oxford have created fantastic websites to showcase all the fantastic offers and independent boutiques that are available.

“And if you’re not able to get into the city centre, you can still do your bit by purchasing Christmas presents online from the local businesses listed in our directory.”

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Oxford City Council Cabinet Member for City Centre, Covered Market and Culture

“We are delighted to be working with the City Council on the Christmas Campaign.

“Our aim is to attract locals and visitors back to the city in a safe and managed way, subject to all national government guidance of course.

“We are also asking everyone to check openings and any restrictions ahead of their visit so that it can be most enjoyed.

“Businesses are looking forward to welcoming people back to the city at this important trading time of year and as always there are plenty of great experiences to be had across our wonderful city.

“Get involved in the campaign by following #ChristmasInOx on socials.”

Hayley BeerGamage, Chief Executive Officer of Experience Oxfordshire

“This Christmas, it’s more important than ever to support our local businesses.

“Independents are at the heart of our communities, and add so much colour and character to our city.

“Both lockdowns this year have highlighted how essential they are to the vibrancy of our city centre, and it’s vital that we support them through this difficult time.

“If you are able to, think about pledging to shop small this Christmas, and make sure we keep the community of indies that we hold so dear, alive.

“We’re passionate about supporting independent businesses at Independent Oxford, and are delighted to be working with Oxford City Council, The Oxford Times and Experience Oxfordshire in showcasing Oxford as a wonderful place to visit and hope our interactive map will help you to discover an alternative side to our beautiful city this Christmas.”

Rosie Jacobs, Co-Founder and Director of Independent Oxford

“Now lockdown is over and shops can open their doors again it’s more important than ever that you show your support where you can.

“Whether that’s using the shops safely in person on online, it’s a crucial moment where we can all make sure our local businesses get through this challenging time.”

Pete Gavan, editor of The Oxford Times