Running an independent shop is hardly a breeze, but it can be even more difficult without a solid online presence. London-based StreetHub, which launched in 2013, attempts to give these stores a fighting chance against retail chains and major online competitors with a centralized portal that enables users to search for a particular product or see what a variety of independent stores have to offer.
Visiting their site, users will find that you can search by product (for men, women, children, “gifts”, and “home”), check out various collections, find “trending” items, or head straight for a listing of the shops on the network (from 34 areas).
What I like about this service is the amount of information that they offer about the products and stores. Items are helpfully marked “on sale” or “out-of-stock”, while information on the stores includes store hours (even noting whether or not the business is currently open), directions, and suggestions for additional businesses to check out. Another nice feature is free shipping, which is available to customers located in the United Kingdom.
StreetHub took awhile to embrace the mobile sphere, rolling out an app only about 9 months after launching their online platform, but it can be downloaded in Apple’s AppStore. Their app currently maintains a 5-star rating from 89 ratings, including a 5-star rating from 42 reviews for the latest version.
StreetHub tells me that they generate revenue by taking a commission on items sold and for B2B services.
At the moment, the startup says that they are partnering with 350 shops and have 35,000 mobile users. They do not disclose the amount that they have raised, but do say that their external backing comes from Octopus Investments, Index Ventures, Playfair Capital, and angels. They are focused on the domestic market for the time being, but they are ultimately planning to go international.