Running your own store website can be a challenge.

Staying fresh and up to date requires time and commitment. Because of this, many independent convenience store owners opt for the static marketing approach like Jai Singh of Singh’s Premier or Daniel Cock of Whitstone Village Stores, who both use a feed from Booker to keep special offer pages up to date.

Going beyond this is much more of a challenge.  I’m sure many retailers would love to be able to offer a fully fledged online shop but the resources, time and money involved to do so might be too much.

There are however a number of options out their to get you started, from e-commerce wordpress themes to specially designed shopping website templates.  Most of these still require a little to a lot of know how which can put people off trying.  Recently my wife and I have joined My High St, a new website that aims to support independent high street retailers. The site has been developed by Wells toy shop owner Loaye Agabine and features stores from across Wells and Castle Cary.

The site is free for retailers to join and list their products; they simply pay 14% of the value of  each transaction. This covers the card fees, site hosting and other administrative costs. When an order is placed through the site the retailer receives an email advising them of the product and delivery information. My High St has negotiated a deal with UPS for parcel collection and delivery which is shown as the carriage option on the site. Alternatively, customers can chose to click & collect. Retailers are paid directly into their designated bank account 10 days after the transaction is completed.

The site also includes a (well thought through!) introductory section for retailers, an FAQ area and a downloadable version of their Members Pack and Terms and Conditions.

The customer-facing part of the site is already filling up with retailers and their products. No doubt it will develop further as retailers gain confidence and grow their on-line range.

The big challenge with any website is how to attract visitors. I entered My High St into a search engine and found it halfway down the third page, so there is still work to be done. Retailers signing up to the site will have to work at making their potential customers aware that they are now on-line.

I wish the site good luck and will be tracking the team’s progress with great interest. It would be great to see My High St expand to include include towns across the UK!