How one village-based shopping solution is helping local businesses survive lockdown
Many people have business ideas – but it takes a special someone to turn an idea into a business. For Jodie Tyrrell, it was COVID-19 that convinced her to take on the online retail giants with her own super-personal local shopping service – and Google mentoring helped her make it a success.
Living in a small village near Manchester, Tyrrell first had the idea for a business that streamlined local shopping by allowing consumers to place a single order across several stores in 2018 – but then stalled. “Life got in the way until 2020, as I had a full-time job and didn’t know where to start,” she says. “And then the need for a way to support local stores really became obvious.”
With a simple website already in place, Tyrrell contacted Google for help, and was introduced to the mentorship programme for small businesses. Thanks to an instant rapport with her mentor, things immediately shifted up a gear. “Christine understood my idea, and really helped me with focus and accountability, and specific technical things like analytics – allowing me to tweak the flow of my website to streamline the customer experience.”
From that point on, there was nostopping her. With a soft launch in August 2020, Tyrrell quickly partnered with several local businesses, including a fishmonger, butcher, and toy shop. Orders are delivered in low-emission vehicles, and older customers enjoy seeing the same friendly face every delivery day. Over the coming year, Tyrrell plans to play to her strengths, hiring a web developer to optimise the site as she focuses on building relationships with more businesses. She’s also considering expanding to cover a larger area.
Tyrrell is aware of the competition, but thanks to Google mentoring, she’s built up a clear picture of her business’s strengths and knows how to use tools to understand who her ideal customers are. “Other delivery companies are moving into the area, and it’s something I’m mindful of, but I offer a personal service that’s respectful of my partners’ profit margins,” she says. “I’m quite proud of the relationships we’ve developed with our partners, including one deli that opened just before lockdown and then took an order for nine Christmas hampers – it’s huge for them.”