In partnership with Enterprise Nation, e-commerce giant Amazon has launched a Clicks and Mortar scheme to introduce online retailers to the high street
Photo credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Although nails were ferociously banged into the high street coffin last year, there appears to be something of a resurgence to support real world shopping and it’s coming from the unlikeliest of places: online. First eBay launched a pop-up store housing 40 small businesses in mid-May and now Amazon has followed suit with its own commerce crusade.
Along with small business support group Enterprise Nation, Direct Line for Business and payments platform Square, Amazon has introduced a new scheme dubbed Clicks and Mortar. But as the name suggests, rather than focusing on its bread and butter which is the online realm, the e-commerce behemoth will champion the power of in-store retail too.
Over 100 small online businesses will be given the keys to the high street and the ability to sell through a fixed premises for the first time across ten Clicks and Mortar stores. The pop-up shops will be found in cities nationwide in regions including Wales, Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire and the south east, with the first opening in Manchester today.
Using the open-ended nature of online for the venues, the Clicks and Mortar shops will house an array of goods from different markets, including food and drink, electronics, homeware and health and beauty. This is effectively looking to meet the vast needs of customers, whatever they may be, while also improving the discoverability of small local brands.
Among those involved are foldable adult scooter business Swifty Scooters, digital device protector Torro Cases and skincare company Altr for Men. Explaining why they joined the programme, Swifty Scooters co-founder Camilla Iftakhar said: “We’ve always focused on our online business but a pop-up is an ideal way for customers to try our scooters out for themselves – once you take a Swifty for a spin, that’s the moment you fall in love with it.”
The year-long initiative will culminate with results being submitted to the government with a view that politicians can further back the Future High Streets strategy. Meanwhile, in addition to the pop-up support, Amazon will help SMEs train more than 150 apprentices in digital marketing, business administration and customer service through a new £1m apprenticeship fund. Elsewhere, the Amazon Academy events run across the UK will provide further e-commerce education, including details on the value of exporting.
Discussing the launch, Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: “UK shoppers like to shop both online and in high street stores and our intention is to help small businesses succeed by combining the best elements of online and high street retail.”
Building on that, Doug Gurr, Amazon’s UK country manager, added: “From giving up-and-coming online British brands the chance to experience physical retail, to funding the training of full-time apprenticeships and helping to increase SME exports, Amazon is committed to supporting the growth of small businesses – helping them boost the economy and create jobs across the UK.”
Although there’s no denying the omnipotence of online, it’s encouraging to see that the two biggest players in the market also recognise the benefit of the high street.