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Amazon Helps UK Sellers with Pop-Up Retail Shops and Training

Amazon UK
Amazon Helps UK Sellers with Pop-Up Retail Shops and Training

Helping small businesses can help large corporations score points politically. eBay launched a “Retail Revival” program last year, and on Monday, Amazon announced a new program to help small businesses in the UK. Each of the programs from the two ecommerce giants help sellers both online and offline.

Amazon UK launched the program in conjunction with Enterprise Nation, a “small-business network and business support provider,” insurance company Direct Line for Business, and payments firm Square.

The Clicks and Mortar program will support 100 small online brands by giving them exposure in pop-up shops. Amazon will also help create over 150 full-time apprenticeships at small online businesses through new £1m SME Apprenticeship Fund, and the Amazon Academy training program will provide free digital training to help grow their sales and boost exports.

Presumably Amazon has already selected participants, as there’s no link in the announcement to further information such as how to apply.

UK newspaper the Guardian has more background in its piece today including a photo of the first shop opening in Manchester today (it will also offer Amazon Lockers for customers to collect Amazon orders, it reported).

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Press release follows:

Enterprise Nation and Amazon today announced the launch of Clicks and Mortar – a new programme to help small businesses grow, both in-store and online. The programme will:

  • enable more than 100 small online businesses to sell on the high street for the first time in 10 Clicks and Mortar shops across the UK. The year-long pilot programme will explore a new model to help up-and-coming online brands grow their high street presence. Independent research on the success of the pilot will be submitted to the Government, following the call for new ideas to develop the Future High Streets strategy;
  • help small businesses upskill their workforce through a new £1m fund to train over 150 full-time apprentices to help SMEs increase their productivity and boost their online sales; and
  • provide free digital training at Amazon Academy events across the UK to help small businesses succeed online, in particular by boosting export sales.

“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,” said Emma Jones MBE, Founder of Enterprise Nation, which supports over 90,000 of Britain’s small businesses. “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.”

“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,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “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.”

Since opening its stores to smaller, independent sellers nearly 20 years ago, Amazon has been a growth engine for millions of small businesses around the world. In 2000, 3 per cent of physical gross merchandise sales on Amazon came from third-party businesses. By 2018 this increased to 58 per cent, following years of heavy investment in technology, infrastructure and selling tools to help them grow their business. Tens of thousands UK-based small businesses now sell their products on Amazon’s global sites, helping to support more than 80,000 UK jobs and achieving £2.5bn in export sales in 2018 alone.

Clicks and Mortar
Amazon, Enterprise Nation, Direct Line for Business and Square are partnering to open 10 Clicks and Mortar pop-up shops in cities across the UK, with the first shop opening on St Mary’s Gate in central Manchester today. This will be followed by the opening of Clicks and Mortar pop-up shops in Wales, Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire and across the South East.

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. The up-and-coming brands have all built successful online businesses and now want to explore physical retail for the first time. They include:

  • Swifty Scooters – Co-founder Camilla Iftakhar and her Manchester-based team design and manufacture their own brand of high quality foldable kick-scooter for adults: “We’ve always focused on our online business, but a pop-up is an ideal way for customers to try our scooters out for themselves – once you take a Swifty for a spin, that’s the moment you fall in love with it!” -Torro Cases – Co-founders William Johnson and Michael Farnsworth produce their own range of quality leather cases for electronic devices and employ 15 staff: “Clicks and Mortar feels like a fresh route for hungry new entrepreneurs to reach a wider audience by combining the power of online shopping whilst enabling customers to touch and feel our products.”
  • Altr for Men – CEO Alex Doyle founded his own brand of men’s skincare products in 2017 and has built his business purely online: “This gives us the first step in bringing the brand to life, letting customers be more interactive and giving them an opportunity to try and feel the product in the flesh.”

The year-long pilot programme will explore a new model to help online businesses experience the high street, as well as highlighting the benefits of combining in-store and online retail. An independent research consultant has been commissioned to produce a detailed analysis of the impact of the pilot, and will submit its findings to the Government following the call for new ideas to inform the Future High Streets strategy.

Amazon Apprenticeships
Amazon today announced a new £1m Apprenticeship Fund to help small or medium-sized business (SME) selling on Amazon upskill their workforce through their own dedicated apprentices. The new investment will help create over 150 digital marketing, business administration and customer service practitioner apprentices who will work full time for SMEs selling on Amazon, to help boost their productivity, sales and exports in the digital age.

Lasting between 15-18 months, apprentices working for small businesses will receive a mix of in-work, online and classroom training. Amazon will also provide specialist training on how to build a successful e-commerce business, how participating SMEs can market and advertise their products to customers and how to sell their products to a global customer base.

The fund is exclusively open to any brand-owning SME registered in England that currently sells on Amazon and has a turnover of less than £1 million.

Amazon Academies
Today also sees the launch of the 2019 Amazon Academy programme – a series of free events across the UK to provide hands-on, practical training to help small businesses succeed in the digital economy, in particular by growing their export sales. Since 2016, the Amazon Academy programme has helped more than 2,500 UK SMEs scale their businesses. The first event in 2019 is taking place at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Manchester, and will include training sessions from Amazon teams along with independent business, marketing and intellectual property experts.

SOURCE: Amazon UK Press Release

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.