A new online trading platform launched this week by The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) aims to help independent retailers move to a ‘hybrid’ model, and build resilience on local high streets.
The Neartoo website allows shoppers to find out what they are ‘near to’ and encourage them to explore more local shops to where they live or are visiting, but also be able to shop further afield and know they are still supporting independent traders.
Bira says hundreds of independent shops are already onboard and that “dozens signing up weekly”. Many of the stores are offering home delivery or click & collect directly from their Neartoo page.
The platform, which has taken around 12 months to be developed, also will be offering shoppers rewards when they shop Indie with Neartoo Local Rewards for each purchase, creating points that can be redeemed with all Neartoo Sellers.
Each Neartoo Seller has been carefully vetted by Bira to ensure only UK Independent Shops can use the service, offering peace of mind to those passionate about supporting their locals, that they are keeping Britain’s Small Independent Businesses trading.
Janye Weldon, Ecommerce manager for Neartoo said: “We are really thrilled to now be launching this to the UK today. It’s so important that we support the high street especially now restrictions have been lifted as it will give our local businesses that added boost they need to get back on their feet after what has been a very turbulent two years, so we are hoping to get plenty of shoppers taking a look and buying through the site.”
Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre 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. It will get their products out to a wider audience 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.”
“There is such a huge gap between indies not having an online presence and we believe they have been left behind for far too long with big tech companies taking over. 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”
“Bira wants to help independent retailers achieve their ambitions and be able to trade up against other multinational online trading stores such as Amazon. There is such a huge gap between indies not having an online presence and we believe they have been left behind for far too long with big tech companies taking over. 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.”