An Exeter couple has today launched the UK’s first online pound shop, days ahead of Poundland founder Steve Smith’s anticipated new e-tail site going live.
Donna and Mark Baker aim to have 250,000 cost savvy shoppers registered to buy at their website, Hereforapound.com, within the next three months – and aim for the Marsh Barton-based business to be turning over £4 million within a year.
The new standalone business span out from their existing 10-strong venture, hereforaday.com, which launched in 2010 to provide discounted quality goods to the 115,000 people now signed up to the £1 million turnover site.
After pop-up £1 sales proved a success with their Hereforaday.com customers, the Bakers trialled a pound-store offering on the website during October.
During the four-week period, they found that shoppers spent an average £19 per transaction – around three times the average spent per visit to a high street discount store.
While its launch has happened days ahead of Steve Smith’s poundshop.com going live on Thursday, the timing is purely coincidental says Mrs Baker.
“We’ve been very, very focused upon what we’ve been doing. We’ve had no idea what competitors were up to; it’s just coincidence it’s happened at the same time.
“It’s a really exciting time and online shoppers have been waiting for this for quite a while. The phenomenon of pound shopping in the UK is now a part of many shoppers’ regular spending habits. This, combined with the huge rise in online shopping, made us realise there was a huge gap in the market for an online pound shop.
“We sell everything that you would expect to buy in a bricks and mortar high street pound shop – except, you won’t need to lug heavy bags of shopping home as we’ll deliver it to your door.”
Hereforapound.com will offer branded and less familiar-named products ranging from cleaning products, batteries, toiletries and kitchen items, to snacks and toys costing £1 an item.
While it’s been reported that the rival online pound shop will require a minimum spend of £23, with a £3 delivery charge, the Exeter-based business will require no minimum spend, with standard delivery costing £4.50 and no shipping charge on orders over £30.
The business will also offer ‘bundles’ of bestsellers such as household cleaning items, to make routine purchases easier.
Tapping into consumer offers that have worked well for it on Hereforaday.com, the pound business will also offer limited period ‘wow’ buys, slashing 91% off the price of more expensive brands, for a short period.
With the investment in the new venture undisclosed, the Bakers make up a five-strong Hereforapound.com board. It also includes Stephen Boyd and Sam Mickleburgh – who are respectively chairman and HR director of Axminster Carpets – with entrepreneur Lizzie James, bringing a strong corporate background to the new venture.
Managing director Mrs Baker said that the business will play to the strengths of a woman at its helm and two on its board, claiming that as such, the business will be more tuned into the demands of a pound shop consumer base – which is 75% female.
“It’s a great team and we are all singing from the same hymn sheet,” she added.
Hereforapound’s ten most popular one-pound items:
1. Toilet roll
2. Cleaning products
3. Washing up liquid
4. Kitchen roll
6. Shower gel
9. Bin bags