Hamburg News: Trade and Finance. High-class shopping area in the city centre shown.
Productmate Gründer Benedict Sebesta, Moritz Held und Matthias Rickertsen © Productmate GmbH

Buy Local: Hamburg Startup Promotes Neighbourhood Shopping

View it on the web, buy it at your door step: young Hamburg start-up invites users to discover the quirky shops and lovely boutiques of their home area online

The problems retailers encounter by the growth of e-commerce are sufficiently well known. Offering fast and easy shopping with free shipping and returns options, shopping from home is the custom-tailoured solution for many target groups. The new purchasing behavior, however, has severe impacts on local businesses. The young Hamburg start-up “Productmate” wants to solve the problems by… a new online platform.

Service Advantages For Local Retailers

Founded in 2013, the company showcases only products from local shops on its platform, thus creating an online storefront that brings more attention to the shops. Productmate’s founders – Matthias Rickertsen, Benedict Sebesta and Moritz Held – came across this idea during their studies. Now, they are gradually expanding it with the support of seven full-time employees and other partners.

On their platform, the user is invited to browse some 20,000 products from 400 shops from Hamburg and Lüneburg, an old Hanse city in the southeast of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The variety of industries and commercial premises presented by the startup is particularly important. Sebesta explains: “In Lüneburg, we work with students of the Leuphana University. They observe and analyse for us the local retail, and give us insights into the commercial structures of small towns.” Registration fee for shops is 165 euro per year, with 20 products on display at the virtual storefront

Showcasing Local Retailers

Backed by a huge positive feedback by local retails and funds from investors, the idea will be further expanded to better exploit its potential. Highly visited areas such as hotels, airports, or train stations are now in the focus for the display of unique products only found there. Say Benedict Sebesta: There, we have the chance to make our platform “tangible”. It seems that just the Internet is a suitable place to save the local retail from being crashed by the power of online shopping.

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