New online marketplace connects buyers with local independent producers

New online marketplace connects buyers with local independent producers

IT just got easier to shop for food and drink from independent producers, thanks to a brand new online marketplace that launches this week.

FLOC Market allows food lovers to get their hands on everything from meat and wine to beers and cakes from independent producers, traders and specialists in their area through one central marketplace.

Inspired by the surge in interest in buying from local food and drink producers, entrepreneurs Lewis Edwards and David Clarke want to help independent businesses get online, sell direct to their customers and build an audience of loyal fans. As firm supporters of shopping locally, they hope their platform will support independents to serve the community in a new, innovative way.

FLOC creators David Clarke (L) and Lewis Edwards (R)

Their creation, FLOC Market, launches this Friday (17th April) and allows businesses to list products in a virtual store within one central marketplace, saving them the cost and extra work involved in creating their own online shop. It also makes shopping easier for customers, putting everything they need from an array of local businesses all in one place.

Lewis said: “We wanted to create an online marketplace that would encourage people to use local producers and give independent businesses the chance to easily stand out to potential customers who want to shop local and want to buy quality produce, but aren’t always sure where to look.

“The current environment is incredibly challenging for small businesses and it’s never been more important to help connect consumers to them via one, easy-to-search place. Many are offering brilliant contactless delivery or click & collect services which help people avoid supermarkets and shop safely in accordance with government guidelines. Our goal is to reduce workloads of already busy independent producers and independents away from admin-heavy duties of answering large numbers of calls, emails and messages.”

With categories including wines, beers, deli, bakery, fresh produce, meats and more, FLOC Market is a one-stop shop for discovering fantastic local food and drinks. Lewis and David are also planning on developing further tools to help people discover new brands and products, as well as helping partners streamline orders from local buyers.

While FLOC Market is expected to prove especially useful during the current lockdown restrictions, the service is here to stay and is hoped to encourage the long-term use of independent, local producers with a focus on supporting the local economy and reducing food miles.

Several businesses have already signed up to FLOC Market with many more expressing an interest, and while Lewis and David are focusing on the Midlands to start there is capacity for it to expand across the UK in the future.

Lewis added: “FLOC Market gives businesses their very own store where they can accept payments online, and help manage stock efficiently to maximise profitability. A big benefit is that it also allows businesses to manage delivery of products, both locally and nationally if they serve the whole UK, they can set radius limits and special delivery options to ensure their customers’ expectations are met.

“We appreciate that time is of the essence, so we’ve made it super easy and cost-effective for businesses to get started. There’s no cost to join or set up the shop or products and each order fee is 10% with a 2% transaction fee.

“On FLOC Market, customers will discover new products and producers by browsing the marketplace but we also give each business a unique ID link that they can share on their own social media channels and use to promote their shop.

“We’ve already got lots of local businesses interested and are looking for more. If you’re a small, local independent food and drink business, we want to help you. Get in touch at www.floc-market.co.uk