Hamilton’s International Village has made history by becoming the first Business Improvement Area (BIA) in Ontario to build and run an e-commerce marketplace.
On Thursday (June 25), the International Village BIA launched The Village Marketplace, your one-stop shop for businesses who call this cosy part of Hamilton home.
“hamiltonInternationalvillage.ca is Ontario’s first BIA built and operated e-commerce marketplace website that has been custom-built by the BOA specifically to provide another platform for their member businesses to sell their products and services,” the organization says in a press release.
“The BIA has created this free tool for their businesses without taking any commission — just simply as a service to help them succeed.”
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The site was built by one of those very businesses the Village BIA is looking to support: The Laundry Design Works.
The concept was already in the works as the community was bracing for construction of Hamilton’s now-cancelled LRT system (which might still be a possibility).
The arrival of COVID-19 in Hamilton, though, and the very real possibility that we will be battling this virus for the foreseeable future, has forced many in the local business community to reconsider how they conduct themselves.
“‘Bricks and clicks’ is the new reality for small business survival but not everyone has the resources or capacity to build it themselves, so we’ve built it for them,” said the BIA’s executive director Susie Braithwaite.
“Having a bricks-and-mortar location brings with it a lot of overhead costs and responsibilities. Although it is important to the shopping experience, convenience is also something of value in 2020.”
The new marketplace resembles the Hometown Hub launched at the end of March by the City of Hamilton’s Economic Development Department, in partnership with several local organizations.
The Hub was a direct response to the needs of local businesses who were (and still are) facing prolonged closures.
The Village Marketplace will operate in much the same fashion but will enable shoppers to put all their goods in one basket. This means that businesses can upload the goods and services they wish to sell to the site and customers can search the online marketplace and make purchases from several different businesses in one cart.
“I registered for the website because I love the idea of a collective online marketplace,” said Maja Prvanovic-Kogut, owner of Zoran Designs Jewellery.
“I guess you could say that to me the marketplace is a virtual store window that can give potential shoppers an idea of what’s inside and they can choose to enter for a more thorough browse or move on to the next storefront…much like if they were taking an actual stroll through the neighbourhood.”
To shop the new VIllage Marketplace, visit the website here.