The month of July has been full of excitement for SACO. We were given the opportunity to showcase our African superfoods on High Street for 2 weeks at the Clicks and Mortar Pop Up shop in Manchester, together with other small online brands.
What is Clicks and Mortar?
Clicks and Mortar is an initiative launched by Enterprise Nation - a company that helps entrepreneurs start, run and grow their businesses - in partnership with Amazon, Square and Directline for Business.
They are opening up shops across the UK on High Streets, in shopping centres, markets and malls over the next 12 months and filling them with online businesses.
The purpose of the campaign is to offer small online sellers the opportunity to trade in a physical retail space for a manageable time frame at an affordable price.
Manchester was the first city where the Pop up Shop was launched.
The doors at St Mary’s Gate opened for the first time on Monday 3rd June with 12 innovative small businesses. Every 2 weeks the space was then filled with fresh new brands, for a total of six weeks.
SACO Trading joined the Clicks and Mortar with eleven other new brands from the 2nd – 14th July.
What was it like for SACO to be on the High Street?
When Franck and I found out that SACO Trading was selected to be part of the Clicks and Mortar in Manchester, we felt so excited.
For the past two years, we have been trading via our e-commerce website and at the different events and festivals across the North West and Midlands, but we never had the opportunity to trade on the High Street.
It was truly a big deal, but after the initial excitement, fear started to take over. I had so many doubts – How can we make our space look great? Will we have enough stock for the 2 weeks? Will we be able to commit to those long opening hours?
Luckily, we received all the support we needed.
We were provided with the space, brand new furnishing and great advice on visual merchandising – Thank you Elaine!
We even got support with payment solutions. That’s right! Square, the payment services provider, let us use a Square Reader and Dock to keep for the 2 weeks, so keeping track of sales and inventory was pretty easy.
The greatest support came from the other business owners we shared the space with. In the 2 weeks we spent together we build trusting relationships and friendships.
Being able to share my business challenges and listen to those peers who were ahead of me was the biggest blessing. I learnt so much about so many things - from running a Facebook ad with a small budget, to increasing sales by relaxing and meditating.
The Greatest Lesson of All – Connecting with customers.
According to Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, "UK shoppers like to shop both online and in High Street stores,” and their intention as a company is to “ empower local SMEs and help them succeed by combining the best elements of online and high street retail.”
We couldn’t agree more! Connecting with customers online via social media, for example, is a powerful thing.
Now, when you take the time to connect with them online and create opportunities to meet them face to face, you bring the whole thing to another level.
A follower that makes the effort to come and see you and listen to your story in person is very likely to become a long-term customer if you nurture that relationship.
This is what Franck and I have learnt from the many events we have attended in these past two years, and our experience at Clicks and Mortar has reinforced this belief.
During the two weeks at the Clicks and Mortar, we were very active on social media. As a result, quiet a few people that follow us online came to visit at the shop. They were excited to try the samples and we had the satisfaction of seeing their face lit up when they tried our ginger flakes for the first time.
All of them bought the products straight away and some of them even came back the next day with friends.
If you didn't get the chance to visit us at the Clicks and Mortar pop up shop, fear not! You will still get the chance to “try before you buy”, as we have quite a few events coming up next month.
Lots of love,
Lucia and Franck