Amazon has thrown its weight behind a new pop-up project called Clicks and Mortar, which enables small and medium-sized online companies to sell their products on the high street.
The Clicks and Mortar programme is supported by Amazon, small business network Enterprise Nation, insurance firm Direct Line for Business, and payment company Square, and Amazon.
Throughout the year-long pilot programme, more than 100 small online businesses will be supported to sell on the high street for the first time, through one of 10 Clicks and Mortar shops.
The first shop has opened at St Mary’s Gate in Manchester and will stock 12 brands across a range of categories, including clothing from womenswear brand Careaux, for up to four weeks. Pop-ups will also open in Wales, Scotland, the Midlands, Yorkshire and the south-east of England.
The programme will also help small businesses upskill their workforce through a new £1m fund to train more than 150 full-time apprentices. Independent research on the success of the pilot will be submitted to the government, to help shape its Future High Streets strategy.
A spokeswoman for Amazon said: ”Working closely with Enterprise Nation, jointly we identified up-and-coming businesses who have built successful online businesses and want to explore physical retail.
”[Brands] are typically based locally to their respective stores, have a great product offering, and offer a mix that creates a really compelling customer proposition.”
The programme will run for a year, after which independent research will be submitted to government to help develop new ideas for its “Future High Streets” strategy.
Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones added: “Our intention is to help small businesses succeed by combining the best elements of online and high street retail.
“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.”