Shoppers move online to support local high street during lockdown
- Credit: ShopAppy
Shoppers are increasingly choosing to shop online at their local high street businesses over major national retailers, according to data published by ShopAppy.com, the online platform connecting customers to their local high streets, supported by Visa and NatWest.
Since March, ShopAppy has seen a threefold increase in users and small businesses registered for its service.
More than 340,000 customers now use the service to buy products and services from local businesses in their towns and cities, and have them delivered to their door, showing continued growth in public support for small high street businesses in the grip of coronavirus lockdowns.
The start-up aims to ensure small businesses can trade with local communities and grow their online presence, making it easier for locals to discover and support them in one place online, and despite restrictions on non-essential shops and decreased footfall in physical stores over the course of this year.
The increase in customer usage seen by the platform is reflected at a national level too; a separate study carried out by NatWest in September found that spending in Britain’s towns and smaller cities is up over 30% year on year.
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More than 2,000 businesses across the UK now sell their products through ShopAppy in 170 towns across the UK. Since April, the service has also partnered with local public transport, taxi and courier services across the country to facilitate home delivery to customers.
They include Beccles, Great Yarmouth, Attleborough, Dereham, Watton, Swaffham and Thetford.
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Founder and chief executive of ShopAppy.com Dr Jackie Mulligan said: “It’s been a devastating year for local businesses on our high streets, but I have been overjoyed to see that their fighting spirit remains as strong as ever.
We have seen a record increase in the number of businesses joining our platform over the course of 2020 and the variety of goods on offer is now greater than ever.
“What’s even more encouraging is that the wider communities in towns and cities across the UK are now getting behind our high streets. We’re thrilled to be working with the likes of Visa and NatWest to help reach even more high street businesses and customers.”
With the support of NatWest, ShopAppy.com is offering free three month sign-ups to UK business customers until February 2021, allowing them to offer their products and services alongside other businesses in their towns and cities on the platform.
NatWest has been a supporter of CEO Dr Jackie Mulligan for several years, with the entrepreneur a former graduate of the bank’s Entrepreneur Accelerator programme.
Andrew Harrison, Head of Business Banking, NatWest said: “As the UK’s number one bank for business, it’s really encouraging for us to see small, local businesses seeing considerable growth on platforms like ShopAppy during the pandemic.
"That increased presence is a testament to the agility and innovative nature of UK SMEs, and we want to help more small businesses use services like ShopAppy to reach more customers, regardless of the ongoing uncertainty of many sectors.
"We’re delighted to be offering free sign ups to our customers until February next year to help make that happen.”
High street businesses can register to join ShopAppy.com or find out more about the platform’s new offering by visiting www.shopappy.com