Independent shops in Skipton have joined a new scheme to reward customers who shop locally.

The scheme called Phlok was officially launched on Saturday.

By using their mobile phones, customers earn points every time they make a purchase from one of the participating shops.

Using smartphones, customers scan a code after making a purchase and points are automatically added to their account.

When enough points are collected, the shopper can use them to make purchases at any participating shop, with Phlok paying the receiving business full value for the points spent.

The business then gets full price for its item or service while the customer gets something for free. The businesses pay a set fee to Phlok to be part of the scheme.

So far over 100 Yorkshire independent businesses have signed up to the concept, with Ilkley piloting the scheme in November followed by Wetherby, Boroughbridge and now Skipton. Ripon, Pateley Bridge, Otley, Pickering and Knaresborough are expected to follow suit shortly.

Phlok chief executive Paul Graham said: “Phlok’s goal is to connect local people with local businesses, incentivising consumers to shop local.

“We are immensely proud of what the company has achieved so far and believe that Phlok will encourage a revival in local shopping.

“We don’t just see this as a novelty to be used in one or two towns, but a realistic opportunity for business owners across the UK and Ireland.

“Our overall aim is to get local customers to transact more often with local businesses and support a growing, vibrant community. It means a lot to me that Phlok makes the term ‘Shop Local’ make sense.”

According to Mr Graham, the unique aspect of Phlok is the ability of consumers to collect a high volume of Phlok points without it costing the individual business more than a few pence.

Since launching the company 16 months ago, around 700 businesses in 48 towns and villages across the UK and Ireland including shops, restaurants, off licences, pharmacies, coffee shops, car dealerships, clothes retailers and property agents have already connected.

Phlok businesses have already reported in excess of £500,000 worth of sales and have had many millions of social media hits through Phlok’s innovative platform.