Independent retailers can use Neartoo, a new e-commerce platform, starting today (March 7).
The platform allows shoppers to know the contact details and directions of stores they are “nearby”, as well as enabling retailers to create their own online presence or integrate location details into platforms. stores’ existing online sales. The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) launched the site to support the High Street and help independent stores recover from the pandemic by switching to a ‘hybrid’ retail model.
Each retailer on the platform has their own individual profile, with built-in Google mapping to show a store’s location and help shoppers plan their route. There are also options for home delivery, click & collect or in-person collection.
The platform, which took 12 months to develop and will be advertised nationally, also offers shoppers rewards when they shop at independent stores. Consumers collect local Neartoo rewards with every purchase, creating points that can be redeemed with all Neartoo sellers.
Hundreds of independent stores have already signed up for the system, according to Bira managing director Andrew Goodacre.
He said: “The pandemic has accelerated shopping behavior, with increased internet use and people also shopping more locally.
“This independent-owned platform responds to both of these societal changes and will allow these retailers to open up new ways to sell to customers, and more profitably. This is a really exciting opportunity for independents to across the UK to be able to start selling online or increase their own visibility and the fact that so many of our members have already signed up and seen the potential is fantastic, we look forward to seeing the site grow.
“Bira wants to help independent retailers achieve their ambitions and be able to benchmark against other multinational e-commerce stores such as Amazon. This is the answer for thousands of independent stores across the UK to maintain a physical presence on the High Street, while allowing them to sell online but at a lower cost.
It is estimated that one in five independent retailers closed permanently during the pandemic. According to ShopLocal, if every adult in the UK spent £5 a week on a local business, rather than a supermarket or chain store, £13.5 billion would return to city centres.
Visit Neartoo.co.uk for more information.