The internet has long been blamed for boarding up Highstreet shops, maybe none more so than Amazon. But now the online retailer is attaching its name to a pilot project designed to bring life back to the Highstreets of the UK. The projects plan to parachute online SMEs into pop-up shops around the country.
The year-long Amazon pop-up pilot program will see more than 100 small online businesses selling on the UK high street for the first time. The online shops will sell through timeslots in ten pop-up shops, each of which will be open for between six and eight weeks.
The first pop-up recently opened on St Mary’s Gate in central Manchester. Others are set to appear on high streets in Wales, Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire and across the South East over the course of the pilot.
The project is being funded by Amazon and its partner organization for the program: Enterprise Nation; a local small business support network. Also listed as partners for the pilot are Direct Line for Business and Square.
“The Clicks and Mortar pop-up shops will provide customers with the opportunity to discover and buy directly from over 100 small businesses – everything from homeware and health and beauty products to food and drink and electronics,” Amazon writes. “The up-and-coming brands have all built successful online businesses and now want to explore physical retail for the first time.”
Some of the online bands set to grace the UK highstreets during this pilot are a kick-scooter brand for adults (Swifty Scooters); a maker of leather cases for electronics devices (Torro Cases); and a men’s skincare range (Altr for Men).
Amazon has confirmed that it is not taking any sales commission for the pop-up shops, meaning the participating small businesses will be selling directly to customers, with all payments made directly to them.