Those of us who love a bargain and tend to shop online will be excited to learn that the discount store Poundland is about to launch an online version. Poundshop.com is the brainchild of businessman Steve Smith, whose idea for the single priced store Poundland changed the look of the average High Street forever. Smith has since sold his stake in the company but revealed yesterday that he has bought the domain name and trademark Poundshop.com, with the intention of setting up an online discount store.
Smith started Poundland nearly 25 years ago with a loan for £50,000 from his father, and has seen many other single priced discount stores spring up, since he started business. However, it is thought that his now rivals Poundland are also considering launching an online store, which would be in direct competition with him.
When the 51-year-old Smith spoke to The Times, he said that he did not think the online store would make a profit straight away: “The first few years we didn’t make any money at Poundland. It’s a bit like this. I suppose I’m the one person who can make it work.”
The way the website would work is that shoppers would have to spend a minimum amount; early reports suggest this is likely to be between £42 and £23 per order. There would also be a delivery charge of £3, which Smith says would compare favorably with petrol and parking costs for high street shoppers. He told Retail Week: “People are used to delivery costs. My challenge is to make sure it works out cheaply for the customer.”
Smith may also consider a ‘click-and-collect’ system, which would enable shoppers to pick products from the website and collect them at a store later.
Smith is no stranger to discount stores and providing bargains to customers. He had the idea for Poundland when he began selling products with no packaging for just 10p each, in a shop he opened in West Bromwich at the age of 16. When he was 27 years old he launched Poundland, after he managed to convince a shopping centre in Burton upon Trent that a pound store would be a good idea. He was proved right as he sold £13,000 of stock on the first day.
When Smith finally sold the business it had accumulated around one million customers per week, with employees totaling 6,000. And although he now has made enough money to retire comfortably, with luxury homes in the UK, Florida and Majorca, Smith wants to carry on working. He has launched several other businesses, alongside the online Poundshop store, including one that offers investment loans to help budding entrepreneurs like himself.
Meanwhile, his old Poundland stores go from strength to strength, offering quality branded products such as Heinz, Weight Watchers and Thorntons. It is these label items that are now encouraging more middle class shoppers, who, due to the economic climate, are looking for good quality products for a great price. And with more than 460 stores in the UK, Poundland is now considered to be the biggest bargain basement chain in Europe.