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Traditional tea retailer embraces e-commerce

18 July 2013 - 09:48 by Mike Price

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A new site supporting tea and coffee retailer, Whittards, has been launched this month, heralding the expansion of one of the UK's oldest high street outlets into the digital marketplace.

Whittards first opened its doors back in 1886 and now stocks over 130 different teas, coffees and hot chocolates, according to Internet Retailing.

While it remains a famous presence in the world of bricks and mortar retail, thanks to its flagship Fleet Street outlet, the company wanted to bring its traditional approach to sales to a platform offering safe shopping online.

Site spokesperson, Simon Blake, explained that Whittards may be old fashioned, but it is still keen to generate improved revenues by diversifying the catalogue of products that it offers, which is something that is easier to achieve online than in store.

As well as shipping specialist teas and other rarities to domestic and international customers, Whittards now offers the appropriate china and accompanying accessories, so that people can start their own collection of high end drinking equipment.

Although Whittards has already got a basic e-commerce site, Blake pointed out that it is not particularly well optimised and the launch of the new outlet for safe shopping online will, hopefully, convert more visitors into paying customers.

The design has been altered to be more boldly visual, while Blake says that the process of passing through the checkout is also less complicated.

Whittards is also embarking on an advertising push, to help raise awareness about its products and services, which is particularly important, given the growing number of consumers who are getting into the more sophisticated end of the tea drinking market.

Since online shopping means that customers can buy from Whittards and other small, boutique retailers without having physical access to their stores, this area of the UK retail sector is starting to flourish.