Category: Retail

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on independent local businesses, where before lockdown restrictions around 35% of people did their shopping online or part online & part in person, raising to 75% during the pandemic. However, the shocking revelation is that the figure is likely to remain high post pandemic, with 58% either shopping online only or part online & part in person.

Non-essential shops were forced to close, footfall was reduced, and consumer anxiety had an impact on sales. But, against the odds, there has been a revived enthusiasm for shopping locally. Research uncovered by nipii.co.uk, a new service which directly connects a business to the customer, reveals that two-thirds of us think buying local is important and half of those questioned think they will do more local shopping in the future.

Talking to his own customers about the difficulties they were facing, Leon Theisinger of Plymouth-based Kioo Marketing realised there was a solution which benefitted both businesses and consumers.

“Looking at all the statistics and research for pre & post-covid, revealed how people’s habits have changed,” he says. “They wanted to shop more locally, but didn’t know where to go for it, and they had got used to the convenience of home delivery.”

In the e-commerce market the focus is on the global players like Amazon, eBay and Etsy and many independent traders simply didn’t know where to start when it comes to selling online. The answer, according to Leon and business partner Ollie Prowse, is the modern equivalent of a ‘nip to the shops’ – Nipii, a local e-commerce marketplace that delivers to people in Plymouth and surrounding areas.

“We wanted to provide a platform that is affordable for independent businesses,” explains Leon. “There are several barriers to entry into the e-commerce marketplace: Cost, logistics and technical knowhow. The cost to set it up can be staggering – you could pay well over £10,000 to establish an e-commerce site; the logistics of delivery can be daunting & expensive and there also might be a limit to technical knowledge, which worries businesspeople or frightens them off.

“It doesn’t cost a bean for a business to get an online shop up and running on our Nipii website. They just pay a commission to us and any card fees. Our Nipii Express service offers next day delivery in the Plymouth & surrounding areas and any shipping costs are paid by the consumer. We have heavily invested in the logistics and our software offers real time tracking, whether it’s picking up from a business or delivering to the customer.

“We have invested in a fully electric fleet of vans, so it’s a totally sustainable delivery service, which is something that consumers think is important too. The investment is higher, but the running costs are much lower – meaning a lower cost to both the business and the consumer.

“Launching in our home city of Plymouth, it’s important to us that we do our bit to make a difference, both to the local economy and the environment. We’re looking not only to send the right environmental message, but also to set an example for others to follow.”

Many independent businesses have already signed up for Nipii, including artisan food and drink producers, crafts, artists, collectables, clothing and much more.

If you’re a consumer, just head to www.nipii.co.uk and see what’s on offer, but if you are a business who wants or needs to sell online, without the barriers, head to www.nipii.co.uk/become-a-vendor/ and see how you can get onboard today.

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