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After being blamed for decimating Britain’s high streets, Amazon wants to open physical stores

A new "clicks and mortar" pilot program will begin testing in the UK.
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With growing e-commerce and online shopping sites, the busy high streets, also known as the UK’s street shopping hubs have lost their prominence and started boarding up due to their inability to compete with the online stores. Now, the e-commerce giant Amazon plans on doing a pilot project to kick-start the bustling commercial life in the high streets of the UK. This project involves establishing several online SMEs as pop shops around the country.

“The Clicks and Mortar pop-up shops will provide customers with the opportunity to discover and buy directly from over 100 small businesses – everything from homeware and health and beauty products to food and drink and electronics. The up-and-coming brands have all built successful online businesses and now want to explore physical retail for the first time,” wrote Amazon.

“Small businesses are one of our most important customer groups, and we’re thrilled to work with Enterprise Nation to design a comprehensive package to help entrepreneurs across the UK grow their businesses, both in-store and online. From giving up-and-coming online British brands the chance to experience physical retail, to funding the training of full-time apprenticeships and helping to increase SME exports, Amazon is committed to supporting the growth of small businesses – helping them boost the economy and create jobs across the UK.”
– Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon

Amazon calls this pilot program as a “new model to help up-and-coming online brands grow their high street presence.” According to the project details, Amazon plans on running this program for a year and we shall be witnessing more than 100 small businesses open for a period of six to eight weeks on the UK’s high streets.

St Mary’s Gate in Manchester, England, will see the first pop-up followed by high streets in Wales, Scotland, Yorkshire, the Midlands and also across the South East before the pilot program ends.

While Enterprise Nation, a local network for supporting small businesses is the parent organization for this initiative, Amazon is backing it up by providing the necessary funding. It is reported that Square and Direct Line for Business are listed as the partners as well.

In the previous year, the UK government announced a £675 M Future High Streets Fund for pouring life into the high streets at the brink of existence. However, it is confirmed that this pilot program isn’t receiving any monetary support from the UK government through the previously mentioned initiative.

Amazon’s PR has stated that they had commissioned an external research consultant to help produce a detailed analysis and a report that details the impact of their forthcoming pilot project. Amazon plans on submitting the report and the findings to the UK government for informing the Future High Streets strategy.

Amazon declared that it shall not be charging any commission from the sales made through the pop-up shops and that all the profits shall go to the businesses only.

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