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New platform enables designers to sell direct to shoppers

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UK fashion designers can sell direct to online shoppers at home and around the world using a newly-launched ecommerce and marketing platform.

New York-based Cityblis says its small business platform will help entrepreneurs to reach new markets around the world, boosting their exports. It is starting out in the fashion market, where it is working with invited businesses in the US, Sweden, the UK and Australia who can showcase their clothing, shoes and accessories on the platform for free. Names from the UK include London bag designer Amelia Powers. In the future it aims to take its approach to other industries.

Customers use the Cityblis platform to buy direct from individual store owners using PayPal. Cityblis says the approach makes local businesses visible to an international market. It says because it can negotiate better rates in areas such as logistics it is also able to make it easier for small businesses to compete.

“We are empowering small businesses to build brands,” said Cityblis chief operating officer Christopher Price. “Cityblis is working to remove business barriers to make international trade more accessible to every small business.”

He added: “In a recovering economy small businesses need new avenues and channels to reach customers.”

The Cityblis platform is linked with social networks so that users can share and discuss content across their networks, personalizing their content. Shoppers can tap into the Trend Forecast Stream, which displays highest rated stores and products based on users’ ratings and engagement. They can also see the time-based Cityblis Stream, showing the activities of the community, and they can access My Stream, a personalised time-based stream that shows how each user has interacted on the site.

Cityblis says its services are offered free of commissions and fees thanks to support from bodies including UK Trade and Investment and the European Union’s Development Association as well as US bodies including the US Small Business Development Center.

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