BarclaySquare, which claims to be the UK’s leading online shopping site, has revamped its Website and slashed its ratecard for online retailers in an attempt to assert its market lead.
“Until now we have been charging 15,000 a year to clients,” says Andy Walden, senior projects manager at BarclaySquare, which claims to have attracted 1.5 million visitors since its launch two years ago. “Now that has been reduced to a typical fixed charge of 5,000.”
BarclaySquare retailers will continue to pay a varying fee, “in the low single percentage figures” of retail turnover, depending on the volume and average level of retail transaction.
Walden is hoping the ratecard cut will encourage more small and medium UK retailers into the world of online shopping.
The reductions in charges coincides with the introduction of new support systems to handle electronic transactions.
These include the launch of the “BarclayCoin” service which will allow users to download a “virtual wallet” to pay for purchases made on the Web.
According to Walden, “Barclay-Coin” should encourage online consumers to make more impromptu small-scale transactions.
“The BarclayCoin facility will enable retailers to accept payments for products valued at between 25p and 10,” he adds.
The revamped BarclaySquare site will be promoted online to consumers on popular UK sites including Yahoo!, the Electronic Telegraph and The Times’ sites in the run-up to Christmas.
Orders and site visits have been growing at rates equivalent of 300 per cent year on year, with the numbers of monthly visitors now ranging seasonally around the 120,000 to 180,000 mark, says Walden.
But, despite BarclaySquare’s claims to be the UK’s leading Web-based shopping site, Walden concedes it has yet to establish sales of 1m a year.
However, Walden insists that more retailers are beginning to treat online shopping as a real business, and anticipates a continued rapid growth in the numbers of online consumers in the UK.
He accepts that many retailers are strong enough to generate traffic to their own shopfront on the Internet, leaving BarclaySquare and its competitors to compete for a transactional, rather than marketing-led, service for online retailers.
“We are aiming to take the pain out of dealing with transactions on the Web for small to medium-sized companies.
“For the less well-known retailers, inclusion on the BarclaySquare shopping site may be the main route to generating electronic commerce,” insists Walden.