If you were at the Harrogate Home and Gift Fair a couple of weeks ago you might have seen The Great British Exchange, the new trade distributor/marketplace for British-made products. The website is the first of its kind, connecting producers of high quality British goods with retailers who want to stock them.
We first met the Great British Exchange back in 2014 and it was clear right from the start that they brought something completely new to UK business. We work with a lot of British producers and we could immediately see the demand for more exposure to retail. Likewise, many of the retailers we work with would love to stock more British-made products so the Great British Exchange looked perfect to bridge this gap.
For any new business brand exposure is key, so whilst the team at the Great British Exchange networked and spoke at events all around the UK, we designed and built a microsite to showcase the brand and give a preview of the marketplace. This acted as a key sales tool in the early days of the business as producers and retailers could sign up to express an interest in the service.
A blog allowed The Great British Exchange to take control of their brand voice, keeping all their retailers and producers informed of key business updates and the upcoming platform launch.
Building The Great British Exchange
The Great British Exchange presented some unique challenges, and called for unique solutions. Most important was meeting the needs of two diverse user groups. Producers want to control their brand, showcase their products and generate lots of sales. Retailers want to quickly find appropriate products and check out as smoothly as possible.
With this in mind, we designed two user areas – one for producers and one for retailers, making the user experience completely customised to each group. Producers have full control over how their products and brand are presented, and retailers can easily browse British products and place orders online.
Knowing the success of the site depended on its simplicity, we made sure it was easy for retailers to order from several producers at once. Our custom-built CMS handles all invoicing, producer payments, shipping notes and associated admin, so both retailers and producers have a completely streamlined experience.
As part of the build we integrated several 3rd party applications including a shipping calculator and even a packaging calculator. Knowing that many producers will be new to selling to trade customers, this gives them a completely visual guide to packaging and makes it easy for them to prepare orders for shipping.
Throughout the build The Great British Exchange kept in touch with their user base using timely emails, and email marketing will be a key aspect of the service going forwards. Using our Launchpad email marketing suite, The Great British Exchange can showcase new products to retailers, and keep producers informed of buying trends. This strong newsletter campaign ensures that the Great British Exchange will become a knowledge hub for British retail.
With so much going on behind the scenes we’re even more proud of the Great British Exchange. This fully responsive, e-commerce website is an exclusive tool for British business and it’s great to see so many producers and retailers already using the site. The team have lots of plans for new functionality including a UK business forum and useful tools for independent British businesses, so watch this space!