100 small online brands are heading to the high street for the first time via Amazon pop-up stores.
Ten pop-up shops will open across the UK, starting in Manchester’s St Mary’s Gate with others to follow in Wales, Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire and the South East.
Everything from homeware to food and drink will be covered in the shops, focusing on online businesses looking to explore physical retail for the first time. The venture is thanks to a partnership between Amazon, Enterprise Nation, Direct Line for Business and Square.
According to Amazon, 58% of physical gross merchandise sales come from independent third-part businesses – that total was 3% in 2000.
Amazon’s initiative to help online brands move into physical bricks and mortar retail will be viewed as ironic by many. As the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon is regularly blamed for assisting the decline of high streets – last year was dubbed a “transformative year” for retail. Some retail experts are urging retailers to collaborate to survive the transitioning retail landscape (and there are some interesting comments underneath that story worth taking a look at).
“UK shoppers like to shop both online and in High Street stores, and our intention is to empower local SMEs and help them succeed by combining the best elements of online and high street retail,” said Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation. “This new concept will provide small businesses with the space, technology and support to experience physical retail for the first time – enabling customers to discover new brands while giving these businesses the experience and confidence to potentially open their own High Street shop in the future.”
Doug Gurr, UK country manager at Amazon, added: “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 in an affordable way, to funding the training of full-time apprenticeships and providing free digital training, Amazon is committed to supporting the growth of small businesses – helping them to boost the economy and create jobs across the UK.”