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Information for West Sussex Providers

Discover how shop4support can benefit you and your customers via West Sussex Connect to Support!

Create your own online Store

For any provider who hasn't made their services available online, taking the first step can be a daunting prospect. shop4support will give you as much support as possible.

If you're not sure how to gain access to your customers, or want to increase your sales, your own online store on West Sussex Connect to Support will give you access to a vast social care market. Even better, you can get started for free, with no setup or ongoing subscription costs. Features include:

  • Your own homepage, to help you connect with your customers, linking to catalogues in which to market your products and services
  • Your own URL to drive customers directly to your store
  • Integration with your own website, financial or case management system should you have them
  • Use of shop4support's branding within your own marketing literature
  • A full support infrastructure, with a dedicated Account Manager and telephone helpline
  • Any branches you may have in different geographical locations can be mirrored online, with different store branches created from your master catalogue of products and services. Personalised catalogues and product pricing, according to your branches, is also available
  • Pricing can be tailored to individual customers, allowing for agreed negotiated prices which can be hidden from the public marketplace
  • You can choose from a range of payment options, both online and offline, using cheques, cash, credit or debit cards or PayPal. We can link you to someone at PayPal if you would like to go down this route
  • Automated and paperless ordering, receipting and invoicing results in a significant reduction in invoice queries, administrative time and costs
  • Automated debtor management, improving your cash flow by a potential 50 percent

Budget Manager - for delivering ISFs and managing multiple budgets

shop4support's Budget Manager is an easily set up administration system that allows you to efficiently manage multiple clients' personal budgets, even if funding comes from multiple sources. This is incorporated in the Provider Portal so you can manage budgets and orders on the same system. If you are interested in offering Individual Service Funds or exploring how Budget Manager can help you streamline and personalise your internal processes, get in touch with us for an informal discussion.

Our s4s people

Contact Us

Interested in finding out more about how shop4support could work for you?

Tel: 0333 600 6330
E-mail: info@shop4support.com

About shop4support

shop4support was created when In Control, the national charity and pioneer of self-directed support, came up with the idea of using the internet to help people needing support find and buy care products and services more easily.

A website that helps people take charge of their own support so they can live the life they want, shop4support is similar to an online supermarket but is dedicated to social care - it's a unique shopping experience for people who have a disability, are getting older and/ or need support to live their life.

We believe the support people need should be designed in a way which makes sense to each individual and their family, so that people can direct their own support.

As a provider, shop4support brings you the following benefits:

  • Your own online store via West Sussex Connect to Support
  • The ability to easily transact and communicate with new and existing customers
  • Time saving automated invoicing and more
  • Help personalising your services - shop4support can advise you on aspects such as deciding how much a product or service should cost, so that customers can not only view a product or service, but also an accurate price

Frequently asked questions

If there's anything you need to know, you can find some of the questions that people often ask below - simply click on a question to see the answer.

What is the difference between shop4support ("s4s") and Connect to Support ("CtS")?

Technically, very little. s4s is the system operator, and runs a national eMarketplace accessed via www.shop4support.com. CtS is the name and URL address adopted by West Sussex County Council for their local eMarketplace, but the website itself is based upon shop4support.

Why should I register?

The eMarketplace has been developed in response to the transformation that is happening in social care, and represents the shape of how social care services will be commissioned in the future. This transformation results in many challenges and opportunities for providers, and the eMarketplace represents a way for providers to embrace these.

How do I register?

Click "Register now!". The online form should only take a few minutes to complete.

My details are already listed. Why do I need a Store?

We already have basic contact details for some care providers and have made these available on the website. We plan to replace all of these listings with full Stores over the coming months, hence you need to 'upgrade' your listing to a Store by going through the registration process outlined above in order to avoid disappearing from the site.

In addition, the sooner you upgrade from a listing to a Store, the sooner people could be purchasing services directly from you. This could be people who are funding their own care, or customers of Adults' Services using their personal budget.

Who decides whether my organisation can appear on CtS?

West Sussex County Council. Whilst the system behind s4s operates a national basis, each LA decides which organisations are displayed in their local eMarketplace. West Sussex County Council want all providers to sign-up to a 'Code of Conduct'.

What is the difference between a "Directory" entry and a "Store"?

'Stores' are aimed at those organisations that are selling products and services that will be transacted via the s4s system. Examples are equipment, homecare or day services. Organisations with a Store are responsible for maintaining their Store, and will also receive online enquiries and purchase orders via the s4s system.

The Directory (which is sometimes also referred to as 'Local Groups & Activities') is aimed at everything else, which means that they are often free or only have a nominal cost associated with them. Examples are information entries, organisations providing free advice, support groups, local clubs and events such as coffee mornings. Organisations with a Directory entry don't receive online enquiries or purchase orders through the system, and there is therefore much less maintenance.

It will be appropriate for some organisations to have both a Store and a Directory entry. If you are in doubt about which type of entry is appropriate for your organisation, please contact the s4s helpdesk.

I've only got one product in my Store. How do I add more?

You can add more products via this online form.

I want to make a change to something in my Store or Directory entry. How do I do this?

Go to http://www.shop4supporthelp.com/hesk/ and click on "Submit a Ticket". Include details of the changes you wish to make. You will then be notified when the changes have been made.

How can I promote my store?

There are lots of ways, take a look at our Provider Marketing Resources page for some suggestions

Is there any guidance on how to write the content for my Store?

Yes. We have produced a flier called "How to Optimise Your Store".

I am a residential provider. What does this mean for me?

There is nothing to stop you including residential options within your store. However, this is not the primary focus of the eMarketplace. Accordingly, a number of residential providers are offering related services such as short breaks, respite and day opportunities which do sit well with the target audience.

I am a supporting people provider. What does this mean for me?

A number of LAs are now actively disaggregating block contacts for supporting people services, which means that the eMarketplace is an ideal way to promote these. In addition, the eMarektplace offers providers the ability to promote the other services they can provide and/or to diversify their business (e.g. those services that don't fall within the scope of supporting people and/or to those customers that are not eligible).

Why do I have to include a price?

We believe that it is critical for prospective buyers to have an understanding of the cost of a product/service in order that they can make informed decisions. However, we do understand that the final price may be tailored to individual's specific circumstances, hence providers are able to include the following statement (or similar) within their product description: 'Please note the price shown is a typical cost for this service and is dependent on your individual needs and requirements. Once these have been discussed we can confirm a price.

If you are a registered user of this website you can ask us any question, including questions about meeting your specific needs, by clicking on the 'Request More Information' tab above.

Please note that we cannot display "from" prices or "price upon request", it has to be a figure. Users can submit their individual requirements and you can confirm the final cost

Can everyone see my prices?

Yes, your Store will contain your 'public catalogue' and can be viewed by anyone. It is possible to create 'private catalogues' for specific individuals or groups of individuals. Please contact the s4s helpdesk if you would like to discuss this option.

I charge different prices depending upon the individual's circumstances. Can s4s handle that?

Yes. Users will submit either a 'request for more information' request or a draft purchase order to you, based on the published price. This can include their individual requirements You are able to respond to this, including the final price based upon the specific requirements of the individual. That price can only be seen by the specific user and hidden from the public eMarketplace.

How do I transact via the system?

You will need to access the s4s Provider Portal. You only need to do this when you start receiving enquiries or purchase orders from users. You will need a username and password for this. This will be sent to you via an email notification when you receive your first information request/order. Please provide the details of all users you require to receive these notifications. Where possible please provide a mailbox which is monitored by more than one team member. Once you have your username and password, the process is easy and the system is user-friendly. We have produced a simple 'desk aid (1.25mb)' to guide you through however the s4s Team are on hand to provide any support you may require.

I don't have a username or password for the Provider Portal?

You only need a username and password when you start receiving enquiries from users and /or transacting via the CtS system (i.e. you receive a purchase order/request for further information against one of your services). In order to prevent you from losing / forgetting your password, we only issue these once you receive your first enquiry / purchase order.

What does it cost?

For Directory entries, there is no cost whatsoever.
For Stores, there are no set-up costs or ongoing subscription costs. This type of system typically operates a small transaction fee that is paid by providers when they sell through the site. However, WSCC is absorbing all of these costs for the first year after which, we will consider various options.

What is to stop me having a store and then circumventing the transaction fee by dealing with clients offline?

It is technically feasible to do this, if both you and the buyer wish to do so. However, the system is designed to provide benefits and efficiencies to both parties (that are absent if they deal with each other offline), so we would not expect this to be worthwhile. The opening of a Store on s4s includes acceptance of the process and s4s has the right to review the continued operation of any provider abusing the system.

Who handles the physical payment?

The s4s system facilitates the process, but never handles any physical funds. If you choose to accept card payments, this will be done by PayPal, which s4s integrates with. Users can also pay manually (e.g. by cheque) or via other means (such as online banking).

How can I receive online payments?

There are a range of different merchant providers that you can sign up with which will enable you to receive debit and credit card payments. One of the simplest is PayPal, as this is very easy to setup and has no standing charges (although you will need to pay a merchant fee for each transaction). To set you up to accept payments via PayPal for things bought via CtS, all we need you to do is tell us the email address that is linked to your PayPal account. Sign up to PayPal.

Does s4s guarantee that we will receive payment?

No. Whilst s4s helps facilitate the transactional process, the contract is between the provider and the buyer (i.e. the individual or the entity managing their personal budget). The checks and balances within the s4s system help to make the debtor management process more efficient and effective, but responsibility for payment ultimately rests with the buyer.

Can I export invoice information from s4s to my finance system?

Yes. Please contact s4s for more details. However, bear in mind that it is only worthwhile doing this when you have a steady stream of transactions flowing through the system.

When will individuals start to use the system in West Sussex?

The West Sussex Connect to Support will be soft launched in early April 2014, which means that members of the public will be able to access the site (and your Store) from this date. A formal launch will be undertaken in June 2014, when West Sussex County Council will start proactively marketing and promoting the site.

How do I contact the s4s helpdesk?

Our preference is that you submit any queries via our online ticketing system. To do this, go to http://www.shop4supporthelp.com/hesk/ and click on "Submit a Ticket". A member of the team will then respond to your query, and you can monitor the status of it online. Alternatively, you can email us at info@shop4support.com or call us on 0333 600 6330 (lo-call rate).

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If you need help using shop4support call the shop4support Helpdesk on
0333 600 6330 or email info@shop4support.com

If you have a question about social care, please contact your council.
Find out who your council is here.