Online shopping is often blamed for the closure of high street stores, but e-tail giant Amazon is planning to subvert that expectation by launching its very own set of pop-ups across the UK in order to help small businesses excel.
The company’s new initiative, Clicks and Mortar, will see 10 stores open on different high streets across the UK, each housing 100 small online businesses trading in physical retail for the first time.
Introducing Amazon’s new launch, Emma Jones MBE, founder of Enterprise Nation (a company that supports more than 90,000 of Britain’s small businesses) said: ‘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.’
She continued: ‘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.’
Clicks and Mortar will first launch as a pilot programme for a year before becoming a permanent platform. The first pop-up is set to open on St Mary’s Gate in central Manchester on Monday 10 June. The stores will then be rolled out to the rest of the country, launching in several locations including Wales, Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire and the South East.
Though Amazon is no stranger to physical retail stores having successfully launched Amazon bookstores and four Amazon Go stores in the US – not to mention Whole Foods, which is also owned by the company – it will be the first time it has done so in the UK.
As well as launching Click and Mortar, the company has also announced a £1 million apprenticeship fund for small or medium-sized businesses selling on its websites.
Amazon’s UK country manager Doug Gurr said: ‘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.’