A Manchester technology company has promised to change the face of online shopping forever by creating an army of ecommerce entrepreneurs – for free.
Kevin Jones is the CEO of tech start-up Shopblocks and has spent five years and £500,000 designing software that enables people to create their own online shop in as little as 24 hours.
The 33-year-old, who is also the co-founder of Manchester digital agency Tecmark, says he’s taking advantage of the surge of “back bedroom entrepreneurs”, who he describes as people wanting to run their own business but without the resources to pay for external premises and a costly website.
Jones says: “You only have to look at the success of companies like Amazon, Boohoo, Missguided, The Hut Group and Next to see how retail has migrated away from the high street and towards online.
“Their websites have become their shop front to the world and they invest millions of pounds on technology and ecommerce platforms.
“But what about the millions of small entrepreneurs who have great products and ideas but lack the resources to pay for a great website?
“That’s where Shopblocks comes in.”
In 2011 Jones launched Shopblocks with Richard Heyes, both of whom are also directors of digital agency Tecmark.
The pair estimate they’ve invested £500,000 into developing the ecommerce platform that they’re now launching.
Jones said: “We wanted to create something that handed the power to the individual but without the cost associated with creating a bespoke website.
“Shopblocks enables the individual to customize their own website, manage it and take payments from customers.
“Shopblocks has three pricing options, all with no hidden fees. The free option is ideal for new businesses looking for a risk-free website and we get a small commission on sales.
“The Pro plan is £39 per month and suits more established online businesses and the Orbit plan costs £199 per month and includes dedicated account management and unlimited website design support.
“Businesses, especially online ones, can grow exponentially so our strategy is to create a framework that enables them to scale up as and when they need to.
“We’re currently offering businesses a free trial we’ve already had 150 sign-up. It’s fair to say the response so far has been sensational.
“We want to create an army of virtual shop owners and believe Shopblocks has the potential to be a multi-million turnover business itself.”