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VISIT lands expert backer after smashing crowdfunding target

Lauretta Roberts
25 February 2019, the new e-commerce platform for independent retailers, has secured the financial backing of retail and e-commerce expert Martin Newman after smashing its target during its recent crowdfunding exercise.

Newman has headed up the e-commerce departments of some of the world’s leading brands including Burberry, Intersport, Harrods and Ted Baker. He also founded and chaired Practicology, a global e-commerce and multi-channel consultancy and has advised e-commerce companies globally to help them grow and improve their omni-channel services.

His latest venture, The Customer First Group, drives "customer-centric transformation" across consumer-facing brands through investment, presentations, strategy days and advisory services. He said he was "really happy" to be investing in the business, which was founded by entrepreneur Dan Whytock.

"I’m really happy to be investing in and in doing so, helping to empower independent retailers to take advantage of the multichannel shopping requirements of our consumers,” Newman said.

Newman added that he believed in a future for the high street in which independent retailers and artisans played a bigger role. “Britain needs to embrace our future as a multi-channel economy, and accept that customers choose experiences as much as they choose products. There will always be a place for bricks and mortar stores, and there will always be a place for speedy, efficient online shopping.

"We live in exciting times, and by celebrating this diversification we can work with what our customers really want, to ensure a great future for stores and shoppers alike. I’m putting my money and my advice where my mouth is on this one: Britain’s high streets are here to stay. I look forward to supporting as they continue to empower independent retailers,” he said.

His involvement in the business comes after it secured £272,060 on crowdfunding platform Crowcube, representing 181% of its target. currently represents 400 shops (covering categories such as womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, home & garden, beauty and lifestyle) and has plans to increase that number to 3,000. The service is free to join and offers a low commission solution for independent retailers looking to expand their e-commerce sales.

A recent appearance on ITV's Lorraine show led to £38,000 of sales on the site in just 48 hours. The fledgling business is planning its official launch for June of this year.

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