AN East Lancashire marketing agency is helping turn businesses into online retailers during the pandemic.

PRopelU Ltd, of Colne, has joined with Preston ecommerce provider EKM, to make the likes of butchers, bakers and greengrocers into online businesses with local delivery networks.

“Shop&Drop” is an initiative where customers can shop online for their essentials and have them delivered to their doorsteps.

The aim is to support local businesses, enabling them to continue trading whilst maintaining social distancing and reducing the risks that COVID-19 brings.

The experience of the two businesses means that shops can be online and operating within 48 hours.

“Subscribe&Thrive” is an extension to this service, where customers order a weekly or monthly subscription of products to be delivered to their doorsteps.

Gemma Swift, director of operations at PRopelU Ltd said, “During these uncertain times it is great to be able to connect local businesses with their customers and help them to provide the services which people rely on so heavily.”.

“Our team has a wealth of experience in doorstep delivery and in marketing, and together with EKM, we can provide the technology to make all of that happen within 48 hours. That means businesses can follow the rules, but continue to operate. They just have to concentrate on what they do best.

“People get that too and we’ve helped a number of businesses over the last week to get set up. People who wouldn’t normally sell online or deliver to their local area, but are now.

“We know that we will be under some form of lockdown for a while. Between us we have a lot of experience in online retail and we’re confident that this will change how people shop for a generation. People want to support their local communities and economy now more than ever and local businesses should act immediately to maximise that. We’re helping them to do that.”

Antony Chesworth of EKM, said “Over the past few weeks we’ve seen our customers’ online orders soar. Online shopping has always been an important part of business strategy and we’re now seeing what detrimental effects not having an online shop can have. Our goal is to help get local businesses online and reach their customers when delivery is more important than ever. We want to make sure no one is left behind.”