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Local shopping website opens up to London's DIY retailers

Near St DIY Phone

An online shopping site that brings more shoppers into local shops has just opened its doors to DIY retailers. The website - https://near.st - launched in 2016 with a pilot category of bookshops, but announced at the Totally DIY & Tools expo on February 14th that they are now available for DIY stores.

The team behind NearSt say they are on a mission to get shoppers back into local shops by making them faster and easier to shop with online than equivalent online-only services such as Amazon.

The NearSt website allows shoppers to search and buy items from brick and mortar shops nearby them, for click-and-collect in store or 1-hour delivery. The delivery itself is managed by a courier partner, who comes and collects the item from the shop. 

Nick Brackenbury, one of the founders, explained how they started the business by cycling over 250 miles visiting local shops in London.

“We saw time and again shoppers saying how much they valued the in-store experience, but that working out which retailer stocked the item they wanted was really difficult and time-consuming. The products on the shelves of local hardware stores were totally invisible to the searches they were tapping into their smartphones.”

The launch comes at a time when Google says customers are searching for local information more than ever before, with the search giant revealing 146% growth in local searches in 2016. The team at NearSt believe that this bodes well for high street DIY retailers who want to capture a slice of the £4.0 billion local shopping pie.

Brackenbury explained at Totally DIY & Tools that the company is enabling local retailers to bring their inventory online, using the existing tools they already have in-store.

“We really wanted to avoid adding any new technology, like iPad-based EPOS systems, to the already long list of things a shopkeeper has to manage. So we instead worked out a way to work with the older EPOS systems most retailers use, and even a way to work with shopkeepers who just use a trusty old excel sheet to manage stock,” said Brackenbury.

The company has begun accepting applications from DIY stores in London to join the platform, and plans to expand further afield in the near future. Retailers who want to learn more about the platform and register their interest can visit https://near.st/shopkeeper/ or email hello@near.st.

Source: NearSt & Insight DIY

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24 February 2017

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