Neartoo online marketplace launched by Bira

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has launched Neartoo, its online marketplace for independent retailers.

It is designed to offer a hybrid model of retailing so that smaller businesses can start to trade online more easily. In particular, it claims to offer a much lower sales commission compared to many of its competitors.

Shops will be able to create their own platform or synchronise any existing one they might have. Retailers will each have individual profiles too. This enables consumers to know who they are buying from to allow them to shop locally and independently if they so choose.

To aid with the hybrid model, Neartoo has a built-in Google Maps function to show where the store’s location is and offers click and collect.

Bira members can use the platform for free for the first 12 months, while non-Bira members will get five months for free.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira, said: “The pandemic has accelerated shopping behaviours, with more use of the internet and people also shopping more locally. This platform, owned by independents, addresses both of those societal changes, and will allow these retailers to open up new ways of selling to customers, and more profitably.

“If there is another lockdown it will mean stores can still sell through click & collect and not lose business to other multinational online trading stores such as Amazon. There is such a huge gap between indies not having an online presence and we believe they have been left behind for far too long with big tech companies taking over.”

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