The Open-Market concept

As part of the Innovate UK, Future retail competition we came up with a concept called ‘Open-Market’. It’s a simple and scalable way to give market traders and their products online visibility, allowing them to better compete with supermarkets and multi-channel retailers.

For traders

Our ‘Open-Market’ platform is a simple and scalable way to give market traders and their products online visibility, allowing them to better compete with supermarkets and multi-channel retailers. At its very simplest it allows traders to register their stalls and announce their presence online. For more engaged and entrepreneurial sellers, it will allow them to promote specific products, offers and accept online and mobile payments.

For shoppers

The shopper facing element will allow users to search, discover and click and collect items from the market via any connected device. It is designed to provide those who would typically shop elsewhere with a reliable and predictable alternative to online or high-street retail that fits with increasingly connected and multi-channel life-styles.

For operators

The platform produces lots of actionable data that operators can use to observe, analyse and optimise market operations. On a basic level product listing and search data will show what is being sold and sought locally, allowing operators to communicate gaps and opportunities in supply and demand with traders and create more efficient and relevant local markets.

The technical and UX approach

The technology employed here is tried, tested and scalable. The core platform is entirely web based and compatible across a very wide range of connected devices, including lower-end mobile handsets. The trader interface is simple to use, visual and intuitive, requiring no technical ability or complicated data entry to get up and running.

The consumer facing interface echos existing online marketplace platforms (familiar) and integrates with popular search and discovery tools (SEO friendly).  Importantly, there is no hardware requirement to participate beyond owning a connected device, for either traders or shoppers.

Note that our principal point of innovation and difference here is not about introducing new technologies or concepts to these audiences or to this environment, but to leverage existing and common technologies in an innovative way.

Supporting elements – Market WiFi Portal

Each market can also be supported by an in-situ WiFi network that will increase accessibility and visibility for local shoppers and market traders.

For those who arrive on site and are unfamiliar with the market, and who want to make efficient use of their shopping time and/or discover something new, the WiFi network will provide direct access to the   market portal.

For traders, the WiFi network will provide free access to their online portal profiles, allowing them to access and update their content without having to use their data plan or find the site URL.

The WiFi access points will also provide footfall and heat-mapping data back to the market operator, which can be combined with other platform data to inform market operations.

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