Students from Lund University have been putting their knowledge into practice to help shopkeepers in the center of Lund by developing a digital service that would help increase their traffic, reports Sydsvenskan.

Retail businesses in central Lund selling consumer durables, such as consumer electronics or clothes, have been going through a tough time in the past couple of years. While sales of grocery shops as well as cafés and restaurants has increased, durable goods dropped 1.5% between 2010 and 2014, according to Sydvenskan.

Luckan (meaning „the door” in Swedish) is an app that was created to help businesses in the center reach more customers. The concept was developed by Victor Sandberg, who is studying Industrial Engineering at Lund University, and five fellow Lund students. Victor conducted interviews with retailers in Lund, Lomma and Limhamn as part of his thesis project. The interviews showed that shopkeepers recognize the importance of having an online presence but they struggle with making it happen. Therefore, the students decided to develop a comprehensive app to spread information about businesses in central Lund. The app is expected to be launched before Christmas.

„We target shops that only have physical presence and therefore do not have any kind of e-commerce. We are not targetting businesses of the size of H&M and the like.” – said Victor Sandberg to Sydsvenskan.

Victor points out the importance of having a digital presence even for small retailers. Research suggests that even though online shopping has been declining, checking out the products before shopping is still  important for consumers.

Retailers can join the app for free, share updates and show what has been going on in their shops. They can also add more features for extra cost. Consumers can personalise the app so that it only shows retailers and products that they are interested in. So far, around fifty shops have expressed interest in joining the app.