IT veteran Matthew McGrillis is hoping to offer small businesses and start-ups a chance to create simple e-commerce stores through a venture called www.webshopworld.co.uk
During his 12 years in IT, McGrillis was involved in building up large-scale sites for clients including the Inland Revenue.
His new venture relies on a platform developed over the past three years, which provides the framework necessary to run an effective e-commerce shop.
He said: “The system is built using Enterprise Java, which is used by all the banks for their websites. I’ve used my experience in building larger-scale websites to create a platform that anyone can use to build smaller ones.
“It’s taken a long time, but from a functionality perspective it’s better as a website builder than pretty much anything else out there.”
While online sales are not currently growing at the same rate as last year, they are still outperforming the stuttering high street.
According to the latest quarterly UK online sales survey from Actinic, sales and orders processed in the three months to the end of June were both up 7% compared to the second quarter of last year.
The comparative growth between the second quarters of 2009 and 2010 was 15%, but the rise still outstrips the 1.5% growth evident on the high street.
Retailers are being encouraged more and more to add an online string to their bow in an environment in which several notable stores have been forced to close their doors.
The idea behind the Blaydon webshop business is that the cogs of the website itself are already set up, allowing the firm to offer a client a quicker and cheaper service than some others on the market.
It uses features such as Google Checkout and PayPal, so all that is required is for the graphic designer to work with the client on the design for the site itself.
McGrillis developed the platform after being inspired by a build he did for his business partner, creating free local classified advert and business directory site www.scoop4ads.com. While a limited three-page site is available for free, clients can also choose hosting options that include domain names, buy-it-now buttons, shopping cart functionality, stock control, accounting and invoice printing.
McGrillis said: “There’s common functionality in the e-commerce system, so basically all that’s required is graphic design to tailor the site.
“The platform is capable of handling larger-scale systems, but realistically we’re aiming at small businesses and start-ups.”