SMALL shops in Chester are invited to register their interest in an e-commerce scheme designed to boost sales for independent retailers.
Called All The Little Shops, the scheme allows customers to make purchases from any number of local shops on one cyber shopping trip, making just a single payment for everything through a secure gateway.
It also acts as a business directory and encourages shoppers to visit premises in person.
Adopted individually by town centre management groups, each website is set up for independent retailers to use either as an on-line shop or as a catalogue. Every retailer has the same exposure, as a new shop is featured every time the web page is refreshed.
Since being launched at the Association of Town Centre Management Summer School in Liverpool earlier this year, the founders claim to have attracted interest from more than 20 town centres, with several individual websites now under way.
As an incentive to get shoppers physically into the towns they can print off a loyalty voucher from their computers and redeem the offer in the shop. They can then plan their shopping experience through All The Little Shops website, choose where to eat from the lists of cafes and restaurants and even identify WiFi hotspots.
Leading the way for developing the loyalty voucher scheme even further is a retail group in Mold led by the town centre manager.
The group recently voted to take forward plans to introduce the All the Little Shops scheme with a combined loyalty card. Using smart card technology, the scheme allows each retailer to offer their own incentive to shoppers for repeat business.
ATLS is the brainchild of Shropshire entrepreneur Peter Riches who ran a pilot scheme in Shrewsbury in March.
Ruth Othen, sales manager for All The Little Shops Chester, said: “Small shops could not realistically optimise their own websites so cost-effectively. The website is far more than just another directory – from the positive feedback we have had in Shrewsbury independent retailers love it and it has a real benefit by attracting shoppers into their shops.”
To register an interest in All The Little Shops Chester, independent retailers should call 01743 875015 or visit www.allthelittleshops.co.uk /chester.