Amazon is to open 10 pop-up shops in a pilot programme designed to give online businesses a bricks-and-mortar presence, following on from its purchase of Wholefoods in 2017.
The online retail giant plans to open 10 “Clicks and Mortar” shops across the UK, with the first opening in St Mary’s Gate in Manchester today. Other stores are planned for Wales, Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire and across the South East.
Customers can buy from more than 100 small businesses with stock including, homeware and health and beauty products as well as food and drink and electronics.
The year-long pilot, launched with Enterprise Nation and Direct Line for Business and Square, “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,” said Amazon.
According to the ONS, whilst online sales are growing at a fast rate, bricks and mortar sales still account for nearly 82% of sales in the UK.
Doug Gurr, UK country manager, Amazon, said small business are one of the company’s most important customer groups. He added: “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.”
“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,” said Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones. “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.”