By Aimee Chanthadavong

Anticipated to launch in September, is an online shopping website that creates a new marketplace for retailers to promote deals and specials online.

Aimed to bridge the gap between online shopping and bricks and mortar businesses, Spruiks will launch in Melbourne and Sydney, covering five shopping areas: retail shopping, food & dining, leisure & entertainment, travel & accommodation and services.

Jason Swaffield, Spruiks managing director and co-founder, told RetailBiz that the idea for Spruiks came about after the online shopping and group buying phenomenon took off during 2010.

“We watched the deals market grow, and keep growing, and could see its amazing potential.  With all of our directors having an extensive combined background in large and smaller retail, we monitored the online deals boom throughout 2010 and we could see that retailers and businesses were at risk of being left behind.  We knew that if something wasn't done, it would only get worse,” he said.

“So we began creating a business model that would leverage off the online shopping market and support bricks and mortar retail at the same time.  As we began to develop Spruiks we watched as retail continued to slump and businesses began to close – and we knew we had the answer.”

As an alternative to setting up their own website, retailers are able to register for free to set up a Deal Store page on the Spruiks website. They will be able to use the page to promote deals, specials and coupons to online shoppers where Spruiks reclaims a competitive commission from deals sold. Spruiks will also promote a daily "Super Deal" to each city, and then release Super Deals across all metropolitan regions.

Swaffield highlights however that Spruiks is neither a group buying nor a warehouse deal site but rather

“We are there for retailers and businesses across all shopping areas to be able to use Spruiks as a marketing support for their business, not just a once-off experience.  Spruiks is all about creating a solid, long term relationship with Australian retailers and businesses, and supporting them in the online sales world to drive business into their stores, or to their businesses,” he said.

According to Swaffield, who has over 10 years experience in retail, the launch of Spruiks cannot be timelier as he continues to witness the widening gap between online shopping and bricks and mortar businesses.

“Multi-channelling is certainly the only way to thrive in today's market, and the ability to utilise online sales tools such as web marketing and location-based mobile strategies is quickly becoming an integral part of drawing shoppers to stores and securing that all-important sale,” he said.

“There is so much revenue disappearing off-shore to international retailers, Australian retailers and businesses have to act now to win back their share.  If retailers and businesses don't expand the way they reach consumers, the projections are they will be left behind. 

“Spruiks offers merchants an online presence, local deal promotion and advertising to online shoppers they wouldn't normally have access to.  Location based marketing will also be a part of the Spruiks offering in the very near future – that's why we want retailers and businesses to get on board now! “