Windsor's version of 'Amazon' may help shift businesses online
WINDSOR, ONT. -- As businesses continue to suffer through government lockdown measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, a local effort is working to get brick-and-mortar shops to embrace e-commerce.
The Shop My Town website, found at shopmytown.ca, created by Windsor tech company Splice Digital aims to be a one-stop shop for those looking to buy from their favourite stores in the region.
“We’ve been calling it like a local Amazon,” says Brian Hendel, president of Splice Digital. “Instead of having to go to individual stores, you just go to one store - everybody’s there.”
Windsor’s The Magical Mushroom Hub is one of the businesses interested in the new platform.
Owner Denis Vidmar says for the past 45 days, he’s shifted his business entirely online through a personal website and social media - and has already seen the benefits.
“I did 100 per cent of my orders all for people who messaged me via those platforms,” says Vidmar, who is now reaching customers across Southwestern Ontario.
According to WE-Tech Alliance, a technology company accelerator in Windsor-Essex, the digital shift is being sped up by the pandemic.
“All businesses are tech businesses, sometimes they just don’t know it yet,” says Adam Castle, director of venture services. “I think that is ringing truer and truer every single day right now.”
Castle sees promise in the new platform, which is still a couple of weeks away from launch.
“This is a system that they’re putting together that has the potential to really unite business districts in Windsor-Essex,” says Castle.
Hendel, who’s company primarily serves clients in the U.S. and Toronto, sees the platform having global potential, but stresses the first focus is building out a wide array of vendors serving Windsor-Essex.
With the pandemic measures seeing people turn increasingly to delivery and pick-up options, Hendel believes the new platform will find a successful life in a post-pandemic environment.
“People are going to want to shop more local, they’re going to want less friction to buying their local products,” says Hendel. “They’re used to now curb side pick-up at some of the local supermarkets - how do we empower the smaller vendors to have that same experience?”
Hendel says there are no upfront costs for participating vendors and adds a portion of the service fee tied to the platform will go back to charitable organizations.