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Featured BusinessesThe influential Manchester tech firm you've probably never heard of

The influential Manchester tech firm you’ve probably never heard of

Tucked away in Cheadle Hulme, there’s a Manchester business known for bringing James Bond-style spy gadgets into homes – while also devising bespoke surveillance solutions for private investigators, police forces and perhaps even some real-life spies.

This sounds like a fascinating mix, but it’s just part of the everyday working week for the tech specialists at Online Spy Shop.

Started in 2005 by surveillance expert Steve Roberts, Online Spy Shop now has a team of skilled mechanical and electrical engineers, software developers and programmers. They spend their days testing out every aspect of their hand-built product range in their workshop.

And many of their products are straight out of a Bond film, from miniscule spy cameras hidden inside coffee cups to near invisible bluetooth earpieces. On their regularly restocked site, you can even find surveillance gadgets disguised as teddy bears, credit cards and spectacles. It isn’t just spy gadgets either, as OSS is also a one-stop-shop for bug detectors and other counter surveillance equipment.

Making spy gadgets affordable for the consumer market

Surveillance equipment of this quality used to be eye-wateringly expensive, or simply not available to the consumer market. But innovative thinkers like Roberts and the team at Online Spy Shop have changed all that.

Not only does the Manchester-based company produce and sell high quality products for all budgets, but it also prides itself on offering honest, jargon-free advice. So, whether you want to keep your car safe with a GPS tracker or install a CCTV camera system in your home, the team will talk you through everything you need to know.

But OSS isn’t just a consumer-facing business. Among its products are professional grade surveillance systems and gadgets, used by everyone from security and police forces to fraud investigators. The company even develops bespoke solutions using state-of-the-art technology.

The company without a single salesperson


One of the most surprising things about a company like Online Spy Shop is its lack of even a single salesperson.


The business has gone from strength to strength since it launched in 2005, capitalising on a huge increase in consumer interest in hidden cameras and listening devices. In fact, the spy gadget market is believed to be worth in excess of £25 million a year.


Online Spy Shop has managed to increase its sales and loyal customer base without a sales strategy. Instead, the key to its extraordinary success is customer service. This is a big part of their ethos – solving the customer’s problem, not just selling products.


Steve Roberts and his team are more than happy to spend as long as it takes advising customers on the right solution for their needs. Whether it’s a business owner worried about protecting their premises or a homeowner wanting to keep tabs on builders or babysitters in their home, every query is answered in full.


It’s clear that the OSS team are true experts, on a mission to demystify the technology they’re so passionate about. Their business continues to grow due to word of mouth and glowing reviews, to the extent that there’s just no need for the hard sales pitch.

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