Siop.io - Open all hoursIntroducing a new local-focused e-commerce platform designed to help small independent retailers.
We’d all spent a great deal of our working lives ‘doing e-commerce’ as members of the team responsible for e-commerce systems at one of the country’s leading online booksellers.
Unfortunately, after just over 30yrs the Book Seller is no longer with us. We were free and began working together on projects that encompassed digital entertainment/gaming, public transport and Internet of Things town centre analytics. The future was going to be challenging, it was definitely interesting and apparently it was going to be e-commerce free.
And then came lockdown.
As we all began hunkering down during March it was clear to us that our local independent food retailers in North west Wales didn’t have much to sign up for if they wanted to move their business online. There were all sorts of Apps and sites that appeared to wrap up the Yellow Pages under an exciting high street app, but you couldn’t actually buy anything. There were brilliant all inclusive e-commerce providers that they could sign up to and sell their award winning sausages and sourdough Boules to Alaska and beyond, but we couldn’t find anything out there that had been designed to support independent food businesses and their local customer base.
We came up with the name, (it’s how we say shopping in North Wales = pronounced ‘shopee-awe’.) we stocked up on coffee and decided to NOT build another e-commerce application for our local independent food and drink retailers.
We wanted place and location (lle/lleoliad in Welsh) to be at the core of what we developed. Where you are determines who you can buy from (for collection or delivery by the business). This system really wasn’t going to help our local baker sell baps to Bedminster, but it was going to make it easy for them to sell and deliver slices of home made Battenberg cake to their customers in the nearby village of Boduan.
We knew that making it simple for small independents to sign up and use was key. As self confessed geeks we needed to take on board that technology remains to many; a necessary evil, a distraction from running their business. Time is precious and siop.io would need to save them time, not take more of their it away from them.
It had to be useful to the business - not just ‘here’s your order’ magic, but come armed with pick lists and delivery notes, the ability for them to take an order on the phone and add it to the system. It’s a tool, just like a till.
We wanted to fundamentally change the structure of selling online. We’ve designed siop.io so that organisations that have an areas’ interests at their heart are involved in co-ordinating and promoting each local instance of the system, and of course, the independent businesses that comprise that local instance of siop.io. The area that they look after could be a County, a valley or a town centre, we wanted to give them an essential role on siop.io to help promote, co-ordinate marketing, train and support.
The system is entirely bilingual from your first email to backend order management to product listings, you select the language that you prefer and it will remember your preference.
It’s been more than four months, or 18 weeks since we started work building siop.io, 1000s of hours fuelled by coffee and toasties and now it’s ready to go live.
Small steps first, there is much much more for us to learn, but we’re really excited and hopeful that siop.io will make a difference to local independent food businesses and make a difference for you too, who we hope will become one of their online customers.
The Kodergarten team