A new programme combining the convenience of online shopping with the joy of the high street has launched in Manchester.
Clicks and Mortar, a joint venture between Enterprise Nation, Direct Line for Business, Square and Amazon, will give more than 100 small online businesses the support and recognition they need to help them grow.
The first shop opened last week in St Mary’s Gate in central Manchester and will be followed by the opening of Clicks and Mortar pop-up shops in Wales, Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire and across the South East.
A spokesman for Amazon said the Clicks and Mortar pop-up shops will provide customers with the opportunity to discover and buy directly from more than 100 small businesses – everything from homeware and health and beauty products to food and drink and electronics.
The up-and-coming brands have all built successful online businesses and now want to explore physical retail for the first time. They include:
Swifty Scooters – Co-founder Camilla Iftakhar and her Manchester-based team design and manufacture their own brand of high quality foldable kick-scooter for adults, she 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!”
Torro Cases – Co-founders William Johnson and Michael Farnsworth produce their own range of quality leather cases for electronic devices and employ 15 staff,they said: “Clicks and Mortar feels like a fresh route for hungry new entrepreneurs to reach a wider audience by combining the power of online shopping whilst enabling customers to touch and feel our products.”
Altr for Men – CEO Alex Doyle founded his own brand of men’s skincare products in 2017 and has built his business purely online, he said: “This gives us the first step in bringing the brand to life, letting customers be more interactive and giving them an opportunity to try and feel the product in the flesh.”
A spokesman for Amazon said the year-long pilot programme will explore a new model to help online businesses experience the high street, as well as highlighting the benefits of combining in-store and online retail. An independent research consultant has been commissioned to produce a detailed analysis of the impact of the pilot, and will submit its findings to the Government following the call for new ideas to inform the Future High Streets strategy.
Emma Jones MBE, Founder of Enterprise Nation, which supports over 90,000 of Britain’s small businesses 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.
“This new concept will provide small businesses with the space, technology and support to experience physical retail for the first time, while enabling customers to discover new brands on their local high streets.
Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon said:
“Small businesses are one of our most important customer groups, and we’re thrilled to work with Enterprise Nation to design a comprehensive package to help entrepreneurs across the UK grow their businesses, both in-store and online.”
“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.”
Also published on Medium.