BRITAIN'S oldest butcher is making use of modern technology to promote its Christmas meats in a secure, contact-free way.

R J Balson and Son in Bridport is using the WhatsApp Business app to help sell turkeys and other produce.

A QR code will be displayed on the shopfront to encourage customers to use the contact-free chat function to beat the crowds this Christmas.

The butcher will be offering turkeys, sausages and dry-cured bacon via the platform, helping them connect with their customers at an important time of the year and to manage challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

R J Balson and Son celebrated its 505th anniversary in September and has spanned 25 family generations.

The family held a big celebration for the shop’s 500th anniversary with one of the owners, Richard Balson even publishing a book entitled ‘500 Years Behind the Block’, which details his personal memories of living and working in West Allington and the relationship with his father.

Mr Balson said: “We might be the oldest family business and butcher in the country, but we are always looking at ways of innovating.

"By using WhatsApp Business we hope to make the best of a very different Christmas this year and ensure we can get our famous meats to as many customers as possible.

"Covid-19 has undoubtedly taken its toll on our business, but if we can survive fires, flooding and even wars I’m confident we’ll ring in our 506th year in a much stronger position."

Whatsapp Business is a free to download extension of the popular private messaging app Whatsapp and was built with the small business owner in mind. The app aims to makes it easy to personally connect with customers, highlight products and services, and answer questions throughout the shopping experience.

Key features of WhatsApp Business include being able to set up a ‘catalogue’ of products or services, which can be accessed via a new shopping button, along with ‘quick replies’ and out-of-office responses to stay connected to customers at all times.

Whatsapp Business is available to download on iPhones and Android devices.