Independent retailers can make use of Neartoo, a new online trading platform, from today (March 7).
The platform allows shoppers to find out contact details and directions of stores they are ‘near to’, as well as allowing retailers to create their own online presence or integrate location details with stores’ existing online sales platforms. The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has launched the site in order to support the High Street and help independent stores to recover from the pandemic by moving to a ‘hybrid’ model of retailing.
Each retailer on the platform has its own individual profile, with in-built 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 has taken 12 months to develop and will be advertised nationally, also offers shoppers rewards when they shop at independent stores. Consumers collect Neartoo Local Rewards with each purchase, creating points that can be redeemed with all Neartoo Sellers.
Hundreds of independent shops have signed up for the system already, according to Bira’s chief executive Andrew Goodacre.
He said: “The pandemic accelerated shopping behaviours, with more use of the internet and people also shopping more locally.
“This platform, owned by independents, addresses both of those societal changes, and will allow these retailers to open up new ways of selling to customers, and more profitably. This is a really exciting opportunity for independents throughout the UK to be able to start selling online or increase their own visibility and the fact so many of our members have already signed up and have seen the potential, is fantastic, we can’t wait to see the site grow.
“Bira wants to help independent retailers achieve their ambitions and be able to trade up against other multinational online trading stores such as Amazon. This is the answer for thousands of indie stores across the UK to still maintain a bricks and mortar presence on the High Street, while also allowing them to sell online but at a lower cost.”
An estimated one in five independent retailers closed for good during the pandemic. According to ShopLocal, if every adult in the UK spent £5 per week at a local business, rather than in a supermarket or chain store, £13.5 billion would go back into town centres.
Visit Neartoo.co.uk for more information.