New website makes it easier to open up Covered Market’s “Box of Delights”

Published: Tuesday, 6th December 2022

Oxford City Council is proud to announce the launch of oxfordcoveredmarket.com, a brand new website for the historic Covered Market.

The Covered Market’s new website will make it so much easier for visitors to navigate the Market’s vast array of shops, services and food and drink outlets.

It has been created by Covered Market landlord Oxford City Council following an approach by the Covered Market Traders Association to take over the running of the original site. It was agreed that the site needed a major refresh to bring it right up to date.

The new, super-searchable website has been designed by Oxford web design agency XIST2, creating a new showcase for the Covered Market’s many traders. The site has been enabled with a number of new functions to enhance the market experience for both visitors and traders.

As well as individual trader pages highlighting the goods and services on offer, new filters help to narrow the search. An easy menu at the top of the screen lets users search for something by type, such as produce or fashion, e.g., how many traders are offering it. There is also a constantly changing “Looking for…” section to help visitors search for something such as lunch, a Christmas gift, or a good cup of coffee.

In addition, the new website will keep people fully up to date with news, promotional deals and all the other kinds of experiences the Market has to offer as well as the option to sign up for a Market-specific newsletter and social media sign-up. The new home page now has a suggestion area and a ‘What’s On’ section for future events.

An interactive market map will help visitors find exactly where each trader’s unit is. By clicking on the name in the list, the map will identify their location and provides a short summary about the trader, their opening times, possible delivery options and how to get in touch.

People often say they can’t find the market, so the new website clearly marks its location in the city, alongside sections on different travel options. There’s also a dedicated page to help anyone who has accessibility requirements get fully informed about what to expect when coming to the market, including the number of steps they will encounter.

Sustainability and ethical shopping has long been one of the Market’s key values, from fruit and vegetables sold without the packaging, to ethical clothing brands or super-healthy organic locally-produced takeaway foods.

The new website also offers traders the use of a tag system on their individual pages where they can, for example, highlight if they use paper packaging, offer local delivery, or stock organic produce as part of their offering. Clicking on that tag will pull up other traders in the market with the same values.

There will also be another new ‘Become a Trader’ page providing clear and detailed support on exactly what kind of traders the Covered Market is looking for and what information is needed, in order to speed up the time taken to respond to enquiries.

Councillor Imogen Thomas, cabinet member responsible for City Centre Action Plan delivery at Oxford City Council, said:

“Walking into the Covered Market is like opening a ‘Box of Delights’ – there’s a dazzling array of different products from the very best local independent traders, from juicy red apples to decadent cakes, or you could buy a new outfit or read a book. Whatever you like to treat yourself or someone else to, you will find it in the Covered Market.

“You’re also spoilt for choice with breakfast or lunch options. The new website will make it really easy for shoppers to decide how they want to spend their money and our new accessibility and travel sections means more people will be able to plan a visit and find the market more easily”.

Alex Sayers, Account Director at website designers XIST2, said:

“It’s been a real pleasure to work with Oxford City Council on another exciting project for central Oxford. As a local Web Design Agency in Oxfordshire, the Oxford Covered Market is naturally a prime location our Oxfordshire based team all know well and something they have been able to put a great deal of enthusiasm and creative effort into. We’re so pleased to have been a part of this project and look forward to seeing the Covered Market continue to thrive in the coming months and years.”

The Council is working with traders and other stakeholders to update the historic Covered Market for the 21st Century and has recently held separate consultations on a potential trial of extended opening hours and on its “masterplan” for the Covered Market.

These views will be used by the Council to refine its draft masterplan, which sets out proposals for a multi-million pound regeneration of the Market to secure its long-term future.

To explore the new website, please visit:

www.oxfordcoveredmarket.com