Re-igniting a local legacy

Basingstoke and Deane Council logo
Old town image

Designed to make things


Project Requirements

    Concept design


    Website design


Basingstoke has a long, proud history as a thriving market town. However, the prosperity and security of our community (and nation) are partly due to hard-working, local, smaller-scale enterprises that provide jobs and serve the community.

The global pandemic presented enormous challenges for enterprises that relied solely on a physical space to sell their goods; lockdowns, restrictions on movement, and the subsequent knock to consumer confidence made them particularly vulnerable. As a result, our usually thriving small business community was left having to reconsider their regular routes to their market.

The insight

The concept was borne out of a simple but innovative idea: we would create an eCommerce marketplace specifically tailored and designed to support small and independent businesses in the Basingstoke and Deane area, allowing them to sell their products and services online, and reach a wider audience.

With more consumers turning to online shopping, The Borough Basket provides local shoppers with an easy way to keep supporting the area's unique independent businesses during these challenging times.

The project quickly became a close partnership between The Designlab, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council which was supported by HM Government.

The Borough Basket website displayed on an iPad

The Designlab logo, Basingstoke and Deane logo, HM Government logo

The challenge

One of the biggest challenges we encountered was bringing together a wide variety of vendors and guiding them through some of the tricky technical bits. We have worked on several complex projects that require careful consideration and understanding of the vendors using the application behind the storefronts, and in all instances, we strive to not only tailor the experience for the vendors but also help and guide everyone through the store setup process.

Our team provided full user training, as well as ongoing support where needed.

Photos of the Borough Basket Market stalls

The Borough Basket website displayed on a mobile device

"It was really important that we took into account the different levels of users to make administration of the storefronts really straightforward. Ultimately it was the store owner that would drive the adoption of the Borough Basket."

Gaby Frylinck, UX/UI Designer, The Designlab

Various visuals of the checkout process for the Borough Basket website on mobile

Our approach

We developed a purpose-led, purpose-built site that could accommodate a wide range of product categories and services. It also needed to be user-friendly to allow non-technical vendors to use the platform to set up their inventory. Our team of developers, designers, and project managers were very committed to delivering the project to an aggressive timeline to ensure that the vendors would return to trade very quickly.

One of a set of images in a grid
One of a set of images in a grid
One of a set of images in a grid
One of a set of images in a grid

The result

Borough Basket has provided vulnerable businesses in the area with an opportunity to recover in a still volatile market. The Borough Basket is currently still free for local companies to join, and adoption is growing day by day. The platform now has built a fanbase of regular users, and feedback from business users has been very positive. It also allowed participants to collaborate and share audiences with other local businesses.

The success of The Borough Basket project has since been extended and has adapted to the changing retail landscape; the brand has moved into experiential activation with a lively monthly market located in the Market Square in Basingstoke. This is an opportunity for vendors to showcase their wares at the heart of the community and close the circle of the customer journey either in person or online.

"When the Covid pandemic hit my wedding and events florist business was hit badly, The Borough Basket seemed fantastic to be part of to help me promote and build my business."

Borough Basket Vendor

The Borough Basket hanging banner

The Borough Basket poster

One of a set of images in a grid
One of a set of images in a grid

A project close to our hearts

This was an idea that we approached Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council with during the initial lockdown. We wanted to do something that helped out the businesses in our community to break down the many barriers to building an online store and enable the business owners to minimize the impact of their physical stores being shut down during this very testing period.

Inspire Award 2021
Inspire Award 2021
It was a huge honour for the team to be recognised and win the Inspire 21 "Community in Business Award" for the project. Winning this award means more to us than just another trophy for the cabinet because it shows what’s possible when people work together to solve real problems.

"We're committed to the Borough Basket’s continued success and have been maintaining the platform technology since its launch and offering development recommendations. As part of our continued investment in the project, we offer strategic advice to our partners at the Council to ensure that the project delivers and serves the community in the best way possible."

Clare Milverton, Account Director, The Designlab

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