When will you be able to buy bare necessities?
When you’ve gone on to the supermarket and bought everything from the cheapest shampoo to the most expensive shampoo?
The answer is: it depends.
But the new, bare-bones, online retail giant Barely Legal may have a solution: bare essentials.
The company is planning to launch its own bare essentials site on Monday.
It’ll allow shoppers to buy products, like toilet paper, at full price and then choose from a range of other essentials, like a baby powder or toilet paper sponge.
The site will be available in two categories: ‘basic’ and ‘bare necessities’.
This category will have an introductory price of just £0.19, while ‘bare essentials’ will set you back £1.99, and ‘basic essentials’ a bit more than that, at £2.99.
It’s the first bare essentials service launched by Barely, which is based in the UK.
Its aim is to make it easier for consumers to shop online and to make bare necessities a more viable option for shoppers.
“It’s really about making a difference, to give consumers the ability to go online and buy products that they might not have otherwise,” says Barely’s chief executive, Tim Millington.
“We’re really excited about what the bare essentials marketplace is going to be and how that will impact consumers’ shopping experience.”
The site, which was launched last year, is the brainchild of Millingtons partner, Chris Sall, who has been working on the business since 2010.
“I’ve been working in the world of online retail for 15 years, so I know what it’s like to be stuck in a rut, and we’re going to take the opportunity here to change that,” he says.
Sall has previously worked with Barely and is now the CEO of Shopify, a company which offers bare essentials and more.
“If you’re a regular shopper, you probably have an item that’s really hard to find, but if you’re in a situation where you need a particular item, like baby powder, then you might be able do a bit of research online and find that item,” he explains.
“The key thing is that we’ll be taking the products that are out there, and getting rid of them so that consumers can actually buy those items online.”
The company has already sold items like baby food and toilet paper.
But what’s new about Barely is its intention to make the site more of a ‘buy it now’ experience.
It wants to make a full-service bare essentials shop, with a wider selection of products, including toilet paper and baby wipes, which can be purchased through a range at different prices.
“Bare essentials is a new platform,” says Millingons.
“When you come to Barely you can shop for bare necessities and it’ll be more like a buy it now shopping experience, where you can look at the products on offer and then make a decision based on what you need.”
While some retailers have already made the move to the bare necessities space, it’s clear Barely isn’t the only one offering bare necessities.
Other online retailers such as Amazon, Etsy, and even Walmart, have been offering bare essentials since the 1990s.
But Barely may have the advantage of a much higher valuation.
“That’s why Barely has a bigger slice of the market,” says Sall.
“They’re much more of an established company, and people know what they’re doing.”
It’s a sign of the times, he says, that many retailers are seeing the need to offer bare necessities, and that’s something that could change.
“People want to shop for themselves, they want to be able go and pick their own items, so it’s a good thing,” he adds.
“But if you think about how we’ve grown to where we are today, we were never really interested in the retail world.”
There are also concerns that bare necessities could become a more common way to shop, particularly in cities where it’s easier to find affordable goods.
“There’s no doubt that bare essentials has the potential to be a way of shopping in urban areas,” says Matt Kowalczyk, who writes the Barely news blog for the Australian Consumer Law Network.
“And the more places people can shop online, the more they will be able afford the bare essential.”
The Barely site will launch on Monday, but the site’s founders are optimistic that the new bare necessities service will help it to grow.
“Ultimately it’s about making bare necessities accessible to a wider audience and make it a more popular way of buying,” says Kowalecki.
“Whether it’s through the website or through the apps, it’ll definitely grow.”
In the coming weeks, Barely will launch its first bare necessities store, but it’s also looking to expand beyond the UK to other countries.
“In the next couple of weeks,