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New trial promises to bring high street shopping to web users

29 August 2012 - 13:09 by Graham Miller

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A new initiative which is being backed by public funding and trialled in Hereford, is looking to see whether combining the local nature of the high street with the convenience of safe shopping online is something from which the whole UK could benefit in the future.

The Open High Street project is being rolled out in the city with the backing of a number of major brands including Unilever.

Essentially, the service allows people to browse a wide selection of products that are available to buy on their local high street, but rather than actually heading out to pick them up individually, they can get them delivered in one big consignment after buying them via safe shopping online.

This idea means that high street retailers will get a much needed boost in business, while consumers will still be able to shop from their laptops, smartphones and tablets.

Project spokesperson, Aby Handler, told the Daily Telegraph that this digital high street service will be beneficial for local businesses, allowing independent retailers to flourish in an otherwise hostile trading environment.

The scheme is not going to stop at Hereford if organisers' ambitious plans come to fruition, as it is hoped that the whole of the UK could soon be covered by a logistics network, that makes it possible to buy direct from local high streets using e-commerce as the middle man.

Handler pointed out that this would not simply include things like grocery shopping or electronics, but would also expand to allow people to get their shoes repaired or their dry cleaning carried out locally, while organising the whole thing online.

The scheme will also help towns cut down on unnecessary journeys, so that more people can be served and less congestion generated.