My idea for my Final Master Project is to create a website which can be used as a tool to allow users to search for products and services in their locality. This idea came from my interest in rejuvenating the high street and rural businesses. Living in a rural area I understand it is not always easy or convenient to purchase non food items without having to travel great distances or by ordering online.
Shopping has drastically changed over the last few years, companies such as Amazon now deliver many products next day and in some areas the same day making it easy and painless for users to buy online taking sales from away from local shops.
The Government, local Councils and Industry have all looked at ways of regenerating retail on our high streets which were once bustling before e-commerce and large out of town shopping centres came along. Research on this and various reports have been created and are being worked on looking at this including:
When searching for products online it is not always easy business directories can be limited and not include all local businesses or companies. I believe that people would shop with local retailers more if they knew the items they wanted where available and if it was more convenient for them to, this is something I plan to research further.
My Final Master Project will look at creating a search based website or tool which will allow users to look for the item they want and see if it available from a local retailer. Whilst looking into the viability of this project it became clear allowing users to search for individual products and not just for shops and services would be a major feature and needed on the website. The idea that the user could search locally for an item and physically collect it or have it delivered by a local retailer could be just as convenient for the consumer.
Accessibility is a big issue many local retailers do not have a web presence and there is not way of knowing local stock levels and if items are stocked at all without getting in touch with the retailer directly. The web site will look to give retailers a presence and and shop window on the internet in a central area accessible by consumers and aim to help more SMEs improve sales whilst focusing on convenience for the user.
In early discussions about the project it was thought this functionality would especially benefit rural businesses. For the consumer a rural retailer could be selling a product they needed and could be close by and possibly more convenient then having to wait for next day delivery or traveling to the nearest town.
I feel this type of platform will be available for consumers in the next few years especially with the development of The Internet of Things and is something I want to learn more about both through research and the development of this project.