What is Sunny Bangor?
Sunny Bangor is a local tourism website slash ‘shop local online’ marketplace for Bangor Northern Ireland. The marketplace is a free-to-join (commission-based) platform where any small business or wannabe trader in Bangor (with a Bangor or nearby North Down address) can sell and trial products. While the marketplace is open to any local business the focus of promotion will be on local arts, crafts, producers, homemade, creatives, upcycling, unique products, etc… A bit like a mini-Amazon exclusively for local Bangor businesses and traders. You can check it out here.
Why ‘Shop Local Online’?
Online shopping may take from the footfall in the town/city centre, but there are many shoppers who support the ‘shop local’ sentiment who also have no interest whatsoever in stepping foot inside an actual store. Many of us just hate shopping. So the focus of ‘shop local online’ is to give these potential customers the opportunity to shop local, and to invest in local businesses. As the priority ultimately is to keep the shopfront shutters open and Bangor businesses alive. Shops do not survive on footfall alone.
Who can open an online shop on Sunny Bangor?
Any existing or wannabe business or trader in Bangor with a local Bangor address (or nearby North Down), within reason. Ideally, vendors must have a unique/local product and are not just looking to flog 10p mixes and Spicy Bikers, or products that are widely available in the local shops and supermarkets. Some products will not be allowed with age restrictions, legal issues, etc. Otherwise, so far, the basic categories include; Arts & Crafts, Health & Beauty, Books, Film & Music, Electronics & Accessories, Home & Living, Toys & Games, Clothes & Accessories, Miscellaneous…
How much does it cost to join the marketplace?
Zero. Zip. Nout. The marketplace is free to join for vendors with a friendly 7% commission on sales for upkeep, management, and expansion of the marketplace. There will also be payment transaction charges of 1.4%+20p to all orders when paying via Stripe. So around 8.4% in total. We may also add an option for PayPal but the transaction fees are a tad high (2.9%). There may also be premium options down the line, including SEO services and keyword-rich landing pages to promote shops and products. Otherwise it is free to come and go as you please.
Tell me more about the commission and fees?
As above there will be 3% marketplace commission and transaction fees (Stripe) of 1.4%+20p on all orders. Examples below:
If you want to sell an item for 25 pence? That would be £0.25 sales price – £0.0075 (3%) in commission – (£0.0035 + £0.20) in transaction fees. Equalling £0.029. So you’ll get near 4p in return (£0.25 – £0.0075 – £0.0035 – £0.20 = £0.039). So you probably don’t want to sell anything for 25 pence.
If you want to sell an item for 100 quid? That would be £100 sales price – £3 (3%) in commission – (£1.40 + £0.20) in transaction fees. Equalling £91.4. (£100 – £3 – £1.40 – £0.20 = £95.4). That’s better.
How do I set up a shop on the marketplace?
It takes just minutes to register here. Once accepted to the marketplace, a user account will be created with a username and password to access your store manager page (login found here). The dashboard is then simple to navigate and learn and the shop itself is no trickier to set up and manage than a social media profile. It’s a relatively simple learning curve following this step-by-step guide or the video below. I would give maybe an hour or two for completion.
I’m sure there are hoops to jump through?
We want to make the marketplace as simple as possible for traders to join (or leave) with next to no commitment or obligation. At the same time, we also need to cover our own backs, so there are various terms and conditions which can be found (here). These terms and conditions are included in a simple tick box on sign-up to the marketplace. Otherwise, all we really need is your email to create a user account, then you’ll have access to your vendor dashboard in no time. (Note, we may ask for proof of a local address, and maybe hygiene ratings (for food),… if necessary. We’ll let you know).
I heard there’s a fancy store manager app?
You heard right! We have already created a smartphone ‘Store Manager’ app so stores can easily manage their shops remotely with real-time notifications. This includes editing/updating products, analysing sales, tracking/expediting orders, and just going about business from wherever and whenever you are. We have shared an example of the Sunny Bangor app below and instructions on how to set up the shop manager found here. Download for iOS (currently unavailable) and Android (here).
Can I see what a shop looks like?
You sure can! To give an idea of what your online shop may look like and show people how the marketplace will function, I have added some of our own fictional (for now) products for Fanfan’s Kitchen (here). You can also test the payment system by buying ‘nothing’ in-store. Products from all shops will also be shown on the main shop page (https://sunnybangor.com/shop/) which will (soon) have filters for different categories and sorting options to enhance product searches.
How many products can I list on the marketplace?
Given our main aim is to promote and create exposure for small, local businesses, we will limit the number of products per vendor so that larger shops don’t dominate the homepage and search functions of the marketplace. The preliminary limit will be 10 products per vendor (this may change) but this does not include variations of products that can be created in each product size, i.e. different sizes, colours, levels of spice 🔥
Do I have to deliver my own products?
Yes, you are responsible for the delivery of goods/products under your own terms of service. This can be created under settings > Delivery in the store manager and local pickup is also an option. We are currently looking into alternative delivery options, and we aim to have a delivery driver connecting local businesses/traders on the run-up to Christmas (for a fixed delivery fee). Ideally this will be a long-term delivery service but it does depend on vendor uptake and sales (the delivery agent app is already set). We also have a Royal Mail setting for wider Delivery but this isn’t a great option locally.
What do I need to set up shop?
Very little. At its simplest, you will need a:
- Computer/Laptop or Smartphone and a basic knowledge of the internet.
- A Stripe Account
- Stuff to Sell
The Stripe business account is important for receiving payments and there may be slight legwork to set up the payment system due to ‘split payments’ between the vendor (93%) and the Sunny Bangor commission (7%). Transaction charges of 1.4% + 20p will apply to all orders when paying via Stripe. Setup help is shown in video below then it is simple to connect via Store Manager -> Setting -> Payment -> Preferred Payment Method
Will I have full control of my own shop?
The main aim of the marketplace is to serve as a platform for vendors to manage their own shops without any restrictions or interference whatsoever. Once the shop is active it is yours to do as you please (following user guidelines). It is easy to add/remove products, to customise your shopfront, and you can enable and disable the shop at any time with a literal click of a button.
What benefits do I get from the Sunny Bangor Marketplace?
Not only will you have an awesome online shop, but you will also benefit from the overall exposure of the marketplace as well as the existing and future search traffic on the Sunny Bangor website. We also plan to update and promote the marketplace on social media channels including our existing Sunny Bangor Facebook Page. If the marketplace is a success locally we will also look to wider markets, and international sales, to the moon.
What if it fails miserably?
The worst-case scenario is you’ve wasted a few hours setting up an online shop. Otherwise, your shop is going nowhere. While the success of the marketplace does depend on the uptake of vendors, it is also part of a wider tourist website which will continue indefinitely with a steady flow of traffic. The marketplace will exist whether there is one vendor or one hundred. Vendors can come as they please.
What is the Sunny Bangor website?
The website itself (est. 28 June 2022) is otherwise doing well with a steady flow of organic tourist-related traffic and high SEO ranking for Bangor-related content (try Googling Bangor NI, Bangor Northern Ireland etc). It therefore has the potential for wider/ambitious/international sales etc… But the focus, for now, is on connecting local businesses and creating a shop local community in Bangor. Snippets of the first 3-months stats are below (27th June – 28th September) and the analytics report for this period here.