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Grosvenor partners up with NearSt to offer “safe and smart” shopping

Sadiyah Ismailjee
08 September 2020

Property developer, Grosvenor Britain and Ireland has partnered up with tech firm NearSt to launch a new retail innovation trial for “safe and smart” shopping, which will allow its retail tenants to promote their in-store products to nearby shoppers free of charge in real time.

The "safe and smart” shopping innovation will be trialled for two months with Grosvenor’s retail tenants on Elizabeth Street in Belgravia and Mount Street in Mayfair, as part of its support programme for its retailers reopening following the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Executive director of the London estate, Grosvenor Britain and Ireland, Amelia Bright said in a statement: “Technology is integral to the best shopping experiences and retail destinations. Visitors and workers are coming back to central London but with transactions in mid-July down 60% compared to January for apparel shops we must innovate to help retailers recover."

“Supporting brands and their connection with new customers is just one of the ways we are seeking to recast landlord-tenant relationships as a partnership, with both sides invested in the others success.”

NearSt, promotes “getting people back into physical retail” and allows retailers to showcase live in-store inventory to shoppers searching nearby to drive footfall, as the tech firm’s research shows that 83% of shoppers would prefer to shop nearby instead of online if they know an item is available in a nearby store.

During the pandemic, NearSt saw a six-fold increase in searches for local product availability, highlighting the importance of making in-store inventory easily accessible to customers. Unlike normal Google Ads, the technology allows retailers to promote all products that are in stock and on shelves to nearby customers who are searching for them.

As well as a top-ranking Google Search result, retailers are also provided with intelligence to help them understand local demand. In week one, products from the first three brands on NearSt were seen by almost 15,000 shoppers searching locally.

Brands live on NearSt include jewellery designers Vickisarge, Elizabeth Gage and Hirsh London, children's clothing boutique Pepa and Co, design label Nrby, retail movement 50m and fragrance brand Jo Loves.

Commenting on being on NearSt, founder of Nrby Clothing, Jo Hooper said: “Nrby provides contemporary, comfortable clothing for home and nearby. So NearSt’s principle of finding a business close to you, quickly and easily, really resonates with our “local” approach. Along with the desire to find what you want, when you want, comes the desire to shop more sustainably, locally and to support small businesses."

“Although it’s early days, Grosvenor’s partnership with NearSt shows the beginnings of a move in this direction - online shopping is not the only solution for shoppers these days, and there has to be a recognition of the impact of home delivery and how we can combine convenience with sustainable shopping options. Through its investment, Grosvenor can help us with the priceless experience of face-to-face service in building our business.”

Co-founder and chief executive at NearSt, Nick Brackenbury added: “As socially distanced shopping becomes the norm, helping retailers easily and safely attract local customers will be essential for success."

“Our partnership with Grosvenor shows the incredible impact that’s possible when a world-renowned landlord focusses their resources on technology that can drive more customers to shop locally. We’re excited to be collaborating with Grosvenor on this innovative partnership and helping get more customers back into local shops.”

Nearly two thirds of retailers on Grosvenor’s estate are independent or smaller brands, offering specialist products and services. Recently, the company has worked with them to innovate a range of no or low-cost solutions to enable them to operate more smoothly.

This includes a Retail Concierge Service, developed after research highlighted common challenges in setting up a first physical store. The free service allowed retailers to open and trade sooner avoiding costly mistakes or over runs.

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