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Some indies see online shopping as the preserve of supermarket giants and the death knell for traditional retail. But research from northern Europe has revealed the internet can help small stores make big gains.
“Online retailing was once seen as the enemy of small retailers,” says Mark Selby of Digital Foodie, an online portal that helps local stores sell online. “But it could prove to be their saviour.” Foodie.fm, Digital Foodie’s Helsinki-based parent company, has conducted research in northern Europe that found local shops benefit from a digital presence. “Total sales of stores that sell online are up 30 per cent, and in some c-stores the average basket spend rose tenfold through online orders,” Mr Selby said.
An online portal can help draw customers through the shop door, too. “It increases in-store sales,” Mr Selby said. “Going online makes shoppers more familiar with the c-stores range – they know what’s there.”
He explained that this deepens the relationship between retailer and customer, particularly when c-stores offer a delivery service that outstrips their rivals. “Independents are able to respond much faster than multiples. Some c-stores are able to deliver within 45 minutes of an order being placed. They can really use they’re local agility,” Mr Selby said. And not only do shoppers find it desirable to have basic essentials delivered, they increasingly expect it. “Most c-store customers use eBay, Amazon, iTunes,” Mr Selby said. “They’re waiting for local shops to go online.”
To find out about Digital Foodie’s trial for UK stores email email@example.com
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