TheÂ British Independent Retailers Association (Bira)Â is calling on independent retailers to sign up to its new online trading site to help them recover from the pandemic.
The website, which launches next month, will provide independent retailers with a new, cost-effective way to sell online, helping them build their presence both locally and nationally.
Bira said the UK-wide platform, called Neartoo, will operate at significantly lower sales commission than its competitors. Developed in the wake of the pandemic, which resulted in at least one in five independents close for good, the nationally-advertised platform offers indies the chance to rebuild and grow their businesses on an easy-to-use platform designed for them.
The association added that Neartoo.co.uk will complement indiesâ€™ physical stores and help them move to a â€˜hybridâ€™ model of retailing. It also maximises consumersâ€™ growing thirst to shop locally and independently, guaranteeing that money spent within a community remains there.
Every retailer will share individual profiles, enabling consumers to know who they are buying from. This will retain that personal relationship that independent retailers and consumers value. Shop owners are able to either sync their existing online sales platform or create their own through the platform if they havenâ€™t been able to afford to create an online presence yet.
Hundreds of Bira members have already signed up to Neartoo in just a few weeks since it was launched to businesses before it goes live to customers.Â For Bira members, use of the platform is free for 12 months, while non-Bira members can sign up and get five months free.
“The pandemic has 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 allows these retailers to open up new ways of selling to customers, and more profitably”BiraÂ CEO Andrew Goodacre
BiraÂ CEO Andrew Goodacre said:â€œThe pandemic has 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 allows these retailers to open up new ways of selling to customers, and more profitably.
“This is a really exciting opportunity for indies 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 that so many of our members have already signed up and have seen the potential, is fantastic.
â€œBiraÂ wants to help independent retailers achieve their ambitions. If there is another lockdownn, it will mean that stores can still sell through click-and-collect and not lose business to 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.â€
To sign up or find out more about Neartoo, independent stores (even if not a member) can contact the Bira membership team on 0800 028 0245 or emailÂ firstname.lastname@example.org