Why should there be a marketplace for local city goods and services? why should there be another online marketplace? Why Citify.ca?
The Big City
The city is a confusing, immense, noisy, bustling, infrastructure with millions of people and hundreds of thousands of stores and shopping malls at every corner of every street screaming for attention. How can we make sense of it all ? How can we find things ? How much time is spent looking, searching, comparing, and store hopping to find a certain product. All those hours browsing, searching, driving down to malls, parking the car, pushing through crowds, and the various other adventures and troubles that shopping in brick and mortar stores may cause. Shopping is a huge everyday logistical problem for every shopper everyday.
The vast Internet
Shoppers are a clever bunch, they will go to the internet to look for items that they are interested in, they do their research, compare, select a store, and then plot out their travels to. It is a matter of survival, time management, and a very smart shopping strategy that has become increasingly the trend. However, there is an issue to this strategy. How will shoppers find the items they are looking for on the internet? How will they know which store to go to ? How will they know what is in their city? Is there a way to have the product delivered? Many will simply say that they will Google the item and keep their fingers crossed. The truth is Google will not show shoppers all the stores available in their city, it will not show all websites of every store that have the desired item, shoppers will not be able to truly compare and make a complete research of the best prices in the city. Shopping for local goods and services on google can be very frustrating if not at times impossible. Google search results will most likely show BIG box stores with huge advertising budgets. So the shopping results on Google is in the favor of those shops that have the means to advertise online. The internet is simply too big to find local stores that offer the item shoppers are looking for.
The Small Merchant
The small merchant looks at the internet as an abstract foreign entity, separate from their brick and mortar shop. They will sporadically attempt to place some content online, in a Facebook page, a little tweet, an Instagram, a website, very few have an eCommerce solution to drive online sales. Many small merchants are uneasy and uncertain in the way to participate in the internet shopping trend. More then 80% of small merchants avoid the internet all together and either see it as an added hassle, frustration, and an investment with uncertain results.
The BIG price tag of eCommerce platforms
The small merchants and anyone who would like to have an eCommerce platform often balk at the price tag of having an eCommerce platform. Everything from custom eCommerce design to SAAS solutions like Shopify, Megento, Woocomerce, Pastashop, etc etc can be quite expensive, confusing, complicated, and intimidating. The development of an eCommerce platform can cost thousands of dollars, but there is also the costs of marketing the platform, hiring skilled designers, SEO gurus, graphic designers, etc etc. Furthermore, the investment does not guarantee any ROI (return on investment) as their expensive stand alone site stands in a digital ocean of the internet, showing up very little times on Google, possibly ranking on the 100th search page, possibly attracting very little attention and very few shoppers.
The BIG online marketplaces
Amazon and eBay are popular household names. They are behemoths of the online marketplace model. They are great for global, international, sales, but they evidently are not serving the regional city population and its many unique shops, artisans, merchants of every-stripe. They do not serve the shopper who is looking for products in their city. The fun thing about citify.ca is that it can also be used to shop in other cities for products, so in a way it is also global as the aforementioned sites, but with a very unique perspective on local shops and shoppers that BIG behemoth online marketplaces do not.
So, why Citify.ca?
Citify.ca makes sense out of the city. It saves time, money, and sanity. Citify is the shoppers friend, a handy shopping tool, as they search for items in their city, compare prices, and either visit the store with the desired item or purchase it directly online, and have it shipped to their door. It is simple, the shopper pops out their cell phone, tablet, and starts browsing for local goods and services and purchasing it online, time saved, energy saved, sanity saved. Citify.ca is the small merchants easy way into the net, they open a store (1 min) create profile (2 min) add products (2 min each) post it, and it's online and ready to sell. No programming, no headaches, and best of all its FREE. Merchants extend their reach across the city, the country even the world. Citify.ca allows merchants and shoppers to connect, it allows them to ask questions, negotiate, review, and share. Citify serves a need that is relevant as more and more people use the internet as a tool to find local products and services. At the time of writing, Citify.ca is a small, young, online marketplace, but with time we hope the marketplace will become an indispensable shopping tool.