Join the virtual High Street

We're piloting a new initiative that gives local businesses free access to popular ecommerce platform ShopAppy.com to help them continue trading despite ongoing restrictions. 

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Following consultation with business community leaders across Dorset, five towns have signed up to take part in the pilot: Bridport Chamber of Commerce, Bournemouth Chamber of Commerce, Gillingham Chamber of Commerce, Sherborne Town Council and Wimborne Business Improvement District (BID). 

ShopAppy.com is a multi-award-winning digital platform founded in 2016 to revive British High Streets. It provides a town-based online platform where small businesses can create their own online shops and compete with the online retail giants. Supported by Visa and NatWest, the platform offers over 150 digital town and city marketplaces throughout the UK, enabling local shops and businesses to show information, products, and services, so that more communities than ever can ‘support local’ more easily through click and collect, bookings and home delivery.

Shops and businesses based in these towns are urged to come forward immediately to take advantage of the free opportunity to secure more local trade - businesses don’t need to be members of these business communities, you just need to be trading in these areas.

  • Bridport (DT6)
  • Bournemouth (BH1, BH2, BH4, BH5, BH6, BH7, BH8, BH9, BH10 & BH11)
  • Gillingham (SP8)
  • Sherborne (DT9, BA21, BA22)
  • Wimborne (BH21)

We're funding the scheme free of charge until 31 December 2021.  Register a new account at www.shopappy.com/vendor selecting the membership option 'Covid19 Free' when you complete your details. 

Here's how ShopAppy helped Barry's Art Shop get online under lockdown rules, maybe it could help your business? 

Why is my subscription free and what happens after the first year?

We have partnered with ShopAppy.com to offer free access to the platform until  December 2021 to aid in economic recovery, keep in line with government guidelines and advice and to make it easier than ever to support local businesses.
In year 2, ShopAppy.com subscriptions start from £9.99 plus VAT per month for part time traders and £19.99 plus VAT per month for full time businesses.
There is no commitment or obligation to sign up for the second year, you can make the decision closer to the renewal date.

Are there any fees in my first year?

here are never any commission fees to pay on ShopAppy.com online orders. The only fee you will have to pay is the 2% card processing fee taken by Stripe before it reaches ShopAppy.com

How do I get paid?

Once you have received your order, you will need to mark it as “Shipped” on your dashboard (you will be shown how to do this very easy process) and ShopAppy will BAC’s transfer to you once the funds have landed with them from Stripe (Their payment runs are every Wednesday and Friday and it normally takes 5 – 7 days for funds to reach your account)

I already sell online using my own website, why would I need another platform?

If you have your own website, that is great news and you are already ahead of the curve. Your own website will give you a national or even global presence for your products specifically. What ShopAppy.com does, is offers a level of convenience to local shoppers, that currently they can only get on Amazon. This means, customers in the local area, can shop with you and multiple other businesses and benefit from one check out, one click and collect location or one delivery from the town. This keeps everyone safer during lockdown restrictions and beyond and also contributes to lowering carbon emissions and looking after our planet! Happy People, Happy Places, Happy Planet!

I already sell on Facebook and that seems to be working for me.

It’s great that you have such a loyal following on Facebook… But isn’t it time consuming and admin heavy? Businesses that join ShopAppy.com from solely trading on Facebook report saving hours a day messaging people and see on average in increase of 25% on their average order values. 
It’s easy to keep pushing your business through Facebook but you can add a “Shop Now” button and have an automated reply message in messenger to direct people to your ShopAppy.com profile where they can browse your products, purchase and you will be notified on email of the orders. You get the time back to focus on your business… Or spend extra time with your family and loved ones at home.

I have never used anything web based before and I’m not comfortable using digital platforms.

ShopAppy.com was created with tech-phobes in mind. If John the green grocer in Saltaire can use it when he only used his phone to make calls… Then anyone can. As well as the dashboard being extremely intuitive for tech beginners, there is a lot of support available for those who need it. You will have a dedicated Community Support Manager, we host weekly drop in sessions and there are videos in your welcome emails that talk you through, step by step, how to add products and services.

How much effort do I need to put in?

ShopAppy.com was created with tech-phobes in mind. If John the green grocer in Saltaire can use it when he only used his phone to make calls… Then anyone can. As well as the dashboard being extremely intuitive for tech beginners, there is a lot of support available for those who need it. You will have a dedicated Community Support Manager, we host weekly drop in sessions and there are videos in your welcome emails that talk you through, step by step, how to add products and services.

How much effort do I need to put in?

Whilst the scheme is subsidised for businesses, it’s not free because every business needs to commit to allocating 20 minutes a week to managing their profile. Key actions each week:
•    Ensuring your products and profile is up to date
•    Sharing one new product, service or general post 
Every business needs to commit to being a gateway to their town and the other businesses. You are all much stronger together and together, you can help to keep that spend within your local business community, rather than going out of the UK. 

How do I get involved?

You can join a “Find out more” event. Register on Eventbrite or you can simply register www.shopappy.com/vendor “Register New Account” and one of the team will call you to get you started within a 48 hours.

Key Stats

60% of every pound spent locally stays within the local economy. When people spend on Amazon… How much of that comes back to your community? This is an opportunity for everyone to fight back and level the playing field. 

  • Pre Covid, £1 in every £5 was spent online. Now, it’s £3 in every £5 and our smaller indie businesses aren’t benefitting from this additional online spend. 
  • Pre Covid, 20% of all footfall was driven by digital influence. As restrictions ease, ShopAppy.com will showcase the variety of businesses available and promote more footfall within our places. 

Free access to ShopAppy is not the only way we're supporting businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Discover our Crowdfund Dorset Business grants and visit Dorset Gateway's Grants, Loans and Support Schemes page to find out how to access a range of government support. 

You can also get signed up to Dorset Gateway's Business Directory and receive our latest news straight to your inbox.