South African startup Advance has launched an e-commerce solution that allows users to order their favourite artisanal and handcrafted goods from local producers online or via an app.
Goods can then be collected in-store or at a local market or pick-up point, with Advance claiming it is developing a hybrid approach to retail – making ordering and paying easy while allowing people to enjoy the experience of visiting their local artisans to collect their products.
Advance is currently available in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, featuring local producers such as Boschendal, Richard Bosman’s Quality Cured Meats, The Velvet Cake Co, The Glenwood Bakery and Eat Your Home. It will launch in Gauteng soon, and is regularly adding new artisans.
“The Advance mantra is ‘buying local made easy’, and whilst it’s about making it easier than ever for people to buy from local producers – and for local producers to increase their customer base – Advance is also a bit of a cause,” said Jared Krause, co-founder of Advance.
“We want to improve what people buy with their money and help people to spend more responsibly. Buying locally made, good quality items is so much better for you and the local economy than buying from some massive producer. We pride ourselves on our association with vendors who value individual relationships and not just producing ‘bulk’.”
To order on the app or website, users simply choose their collection location, collection date and the products they want, and then pay securely online. They will then receive a unique order number, which can be shown at pick-up.
“We have staggeringly good small-scale farmers, bakers, butchers, brewers, distillers, coffee roasters and the like, who have eschewed traditional retail and production models in order to create the best products they can because it’s the responsible and sustainable thing to do,” said Will Edgcumbe, co-founder of Advance.
“We want to enable them to reach their customers better, grow their businesses and spend more time doing what they love – making awesome small-batch products. If you’re making something you’re proud of, you should be on Advance. It’s free to list your store and we’ll help you with some marketing too!”