A new consumer-facing online marketplace, My Town Centre, is opening just in time to help independent retailers and designer-makers survive the latest lockdown and find a new online route to market.
Created by technical consultant, Denre Bruins, who over the past few months put together BCTF Online and the Virtual Celtic Trade Shows after physical events were cancelled, My Town Centre is free to join for vendors and offers lower commission rates than Etsy, Folksy, or other comparable online markets.
The ecommerce site will launch as a Christmas market which will stay open throughout the Christmas period and into January, before refreshing for Spring Season occasions.
Over a dozen vendors have already signed up, including local pop-up shop, Creative Collective and a variety of designer-makers working across a variety of disciplines and product categories. Mr Bruins webshop and web hosting customers have been offered shop fronts on My Town Centre for no charge other than the usual Stripe payment commission.
He commented: “I got the idea for My Town Centre over the summer as I wanted to add a value-added PR service for my web-hosting and webshop clients. Then our local pop-up shop, Creative Collective, expressed an interest in joining the market and I decided to open it up to any British shops, suppliers or designers who wanted to make use of the platform. It has been a lot of work getting this to the point where it can be launched so quickly, but there is no doubt that online shopping is only going to grow and I want to help companies, especially fellow independents, to benefit from this.
“The commission I’ve set is extremely low and is more favourable than giants in this category like Etsy or Folksy, along with many other smaller players. Companies in my sector need a helping hand right now and this is what I have always tried to do, which is why there will be no extra commission charges for my webshop and hosting clients, only the 1.4% Stripe charge which they also incur through their own online stores. I’ve decided not to use Paypal for now in order to keep the commission low, but I may well roll that out in the new year.”
As well as providing a Woocommerce-based online shopping platform, My Town Centre will promote the site to consumers via social media, leaflets and other marketing initiatives.