Community eCommerce Project Helps ‘Shop Local’ Become a Reality

Shop local will become a possibility to more communities with a new solution to the local food supply chain providing retailers with resources to scale, sell online and utilise couriers.

Innovate UK received 8,600 entries to its COVID-19 Technology Competition opened this April. The competition was designed to fast track innovation to support the emerging and increasing needs of society and industry during and following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Innovate UK competition was highly competitive, with only 40 grants available – one of which was awarded to Stok.ly.

Established in 2015, Stok.ly provides ePos, stock control and eCommerce for UK retailers through an easy-to-use software platform. The goal of this project is to facilitate new local food delivery options and help save jobs in local communities. ‘Community eCommerce’, set to launch in October 2020, aims to transform local food supply chains.

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, home deliveries and click and collect services from local shops were often too complex and inefficient for people looking to shop local, especially for those who are vulnerable and shielding. Stok.ly Community eCommerce enables local retailers to group together, sell on one local, own branded website, meaning local customers create and pay for one basket of goods and receive one delivery of all items ordered.

Independent retailers such as butchers, grocers, delis, cafes and bakeries across Britain often lack the funds and scale to sell online and coordinate home delivery via couriers. Stok.ly Community eCommerce provides independent retailers with access to eCommerce order taking and sales order fulfilment, helping local communities to shop local. When communities shop local, they save jobs and keep independent retailers open.

Using the existing Stok.ly software platform which provides UK retailers with ePos, stock control, eCommerce, order fulfilment and courier integrations to collect, distribute and dispatch sales orders, Community eCommerce will provide more food delivery options for local communities, saving jobs and providing opportunities for groups of local independent retailers to grow their businesses online.

Iain Coplans, Managing Director of Stok.ly, said: “We are thrilled to have won this grant and be able to help local retailers not only get through the current pandemic, but secure their future positioning as well. As a previous local shop owner, I know how hard it is to thrive while competing with bigger retailers, and this pandemic would have only made that more difficult. Our ‘Community eCommerce’ project is set to launch in October, and the sophisticated platform will give local businesses an affordable way to compete and local communities an easy and efficient method to buy their groceries.”

The ‘Community eCommerce’ project solves a problem that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, as it protects the local high street by keeping jobs and the local community thriving by encouraging people to shop local. It also has the ability to help small retailers adapt and change the way they work in the future.

If you are interested in joining the ‘Community eCommerce’ project, or would like to find out more information, get in touch with Iain at i.coplans@stok.ly.