The ShopAppy Story
ShopAppy was founded by Jackie Mulligan in 2016. Jackie loves shopping in her home town of Saltaire. She and many of her friends were worried about seeing many of the great local shops struggling because of the increasing competition from online shopping giants. She even saw some shops closing to become online sellers - leaving vacant shops in the town. Jackie explains
"I realised how happy it made me feel to have these lovely shops and businesses so close by, and how enjoyable it was to shop locally where you could speak to shopkeepers about the products because they had chosen them and they had bought them. I also noticed that in the local shops, residents talked to each other, shopping local just makes us all feel more connected and happy. I called it feeling 'shopappy' because I am a cockney and always drop my H's"
She also met lots of people who cared a lot about shopping local, but when they got home from work the shops were closed.
Jackie set about creating ShopAppy by cooking spaghetti bolognese and inviting local shopkeepers, friends and family round to her house to tell them her big idea.
It was quite simple really - give local shops the power of a superstore by having all the local products in one place. The site would provide convenience with a local conscience. She met independent shops who were worried about going online, mostly because they loved meeting people and seeing people in their shops. So the solution was to use click and collect, which would bring customers into town. She also believes that when people see what they have on offer nearby, they could well be likely to just pop along to the shops and see the products in real-life.
After many months of work, Jackie launched the ShopAppy site.
Since launch, ShopAppy has grown to more towns across the UK. The site has started to make impact. ShopAppy towns are climbing the UK digital influence index, 91% of people are saying ShopAppy encourages them to shop local more and shops are reporting seeing new customers inspired to come into towns by the shop windows online. In 2019, Jackie introduced bookings so that people could book appointments, tables, events so that a wider range of businesses could take part and benefit from local people browsing on the platform.
Jackie is delighted that it launched, she said
“ShopAppy gives local shops and businesses in every town a 24-hour shop window, doesn’t take commission on sales and encourages shoppers to look at what amazing things are on their doorstep which in turn inspires visits and customers. It is great to have convenience but it is also great when you feel good about where you shop. That's what might make us all shopappy !”
"Now we are no longer too busy to shop closer to home. Busy people need to have choices and ShopAppy provides that local alternative - and convenience with a local conscience."
In 2018 as part of the Future High Streets Select Committee, ShopAppy was raised as a concept that could be used by towns to help level the playing field.
When it was clear lockdown was going to happen, Jackie and her team, added delivery to the site and offered free use of the platform to local businesses across the country. ShopAppy enabled businesses to continue to trade through the restrictions, and so many businesses adapted products to suit the restricted conditions. ShopAppy hosted virtual makers fairs, virtual events, provided online appointments and even takeaway meals to help areas keep connected. The service has expanded still further with now over 100 towns launching the ShopAppy service. Local economies will drive national recovery and all are invited to get involved so that a better future can be created based on happy people, happy places and a happy planet. In November 2021, 5 years after launching the first pilots, ShopAppy launches ShopLocalOnline.org providing a national extension and sister site for local businesses to sell and post items easily and to enable customers to support local communities across the UK with their purchases.