Diss online shopping mall moves a step closer

A bid to create an online shopping kingdom in Diss has moved a step closer after retailers in the town offered their support.

A meeting on Monday evening heard how retailers and councillors in the town are keen to implement a project which could see stock listed on a website, so people could browse and order online before they come into town to collect their shopping or opt for home delivery.

Social media marketing specialist Sean Clark delivered a presentation focused on the scheme's success in other towns including Cromer.

Glyn Walden, district councillor for Diss, said: 'The meeting was very useful and Sean gave a very useful presentation which highlighted the impact that the internet is having on our high street sales and how other towns across the county are finding the project. Comments from the retailers who were there were positive.'

He said the website could be set up in three stages, with the first level being a product directory with the outlets and their stock, the second level being where customers can select and collect and the third stage being a full sale facility where shops can send goods using Post Office and Royal Mail services.

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'The retailers are very fortunate that they have got a good post office and Royal Mail centre in the heart of the town. It's not like it's miles away on an industrial estate. It's an important asset,' he added.

Mr Walden said small retailers concerned about the technical knowledge involved need not worry as all they had to do was register their products on an online catalogue.

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'It's the shopper who will be internet-savvy,' he added. 'It's about going into competition with the big multi national firms; they are all sucking the money away from the town centre.'

Colin Edwards, who owns Diss Garden Centre in Victoria Road, said: 'Everyone is very positive about the idea but we still need more people to get on board.

'We are a small catchment area and we hope the website will help to bring in more people from further afield.'

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