First expected last fall, the transactional version of Blue Basket will finally be announced in Quebec City in June. However, it’s still unclear when exactly it will be available, and according to one expert, the site will have a long way to go to get rid of the “Yellow Pages” image sticking to your skin. Not to mention the rivals that have had time to appear since then.
And there are retailers, already struggling with many labor and supply challenges, who are skeptical about this future platform, seeing no remedy for their problems.
“In the first few months of launching the Blue Basket, there was this notoriety. Except that, over time, it didn’t hold up because it didn’t meet the expectations of Quebec’s online shoppers, says Bruno Guglielminetti, a specialist in digital communication. The Blue Basket visitor experience, when widely discussed, was similar to consulting a large yellow pages directory. And people still have that in mind. »
A pleasant shopping experience, a simple payment method, and an efficient delivery system are the three criteria that the new marketplace must meet. “Le Panier bleu must respond to these requests,” adds the specialist. The bar is set by Amazon. It has to be so good, so nice to use. »
According to a study by NETendances, in 2021, 48% of Quebecers’ online purchases were made on the Amazon site, compared to 19% at Quebec online merchants. However, nearly 46% of those surveyed said they intend to shop on the Panier bleu site when it becomes transactional.
Turn back. Le Panier bleu was launched at the start of the pandemic by the François Legault government to stimulate local purchases. The concept, which essentially made it possible to list Quebec merchants and products, had been heavily criticized because it did not allow consumers to transact directly on the site. Almost nine months after its creation, in January 2021, the non-profit organization (NPO) Le Panier bleu announced the establishment of a Quebec online shopping platform that brings together all local retailers who wish to join. This market was supposed to allow consumers to shop there in the fall of the same year. The project did not materialize.
But now in June, Quebec will announce the establishment of a transactional platform, we confirm it. “The goal now is to get a first digital market up and running in the coming months. To do this, we are working with partners to create a transactional platform that will enable retailers to be more competitive in the context of the globalized digital economy,” said Romane St-Laurent, press officer for the Minister Delegate for the Economy, Lucie Lecours.
However, it is impossible to know the exact moment of the implementation of the platform or to know what the sums invested will be. Since its creation, the NPO has received $4.4 million in grants from Quebec.
If she assures that she is not “100% against the idea of the Blue Basket”, Marie Beaupré, co-founder of the company Les Mauvaises Herbes, which specializes in particular in the preparation and sale of natural products for body care. and households – she believes for her part that this platform will not solve the problems that entrepreneurs have faced since the start of the pandemic.
She is also one of the promoters of a letter -published in Press recently and signed by 300 companies – denouncing the fact that buying local is in danger.
“There doesn’t seem to have been any discussion with small business owners about whether this is really what they need. That’s not what we need, he argues. We need concrete measures that have an impact on our daily lives. »
And as for the platform configuration, Mme Beaupré points out that there are still many unanswered questions. His company was contacted in April by Le Panier bleu. The organization selected Les Mauvaises Herbes to be part of the introductory phase of the platform. And since then, nothing. “I didn’t follow it. We don’t have too much information. I’m still skeptical but open to the idea. »
Furthermore, the co-founder of Les Mauvaises Herbes recalls that many transactional sites have already sprung up. This is the case of Le Bon Panier, created in September 2021 and currently bringing together more than a hundred Quebec merchants.
“We had already had the idea during the pandemic to launch a platform,” explains Audrey-Ann Jean-Weisz, web developer and founder of Le Bon Panier. We were disappointed with Blue Basket, which is not transactional yet. We thought we were going to start too. »
The small team of four developers launched their project after a year of work. If you refused to give information on the number of visits, Mme Jean-Weisz aims to attract 10,000 users per day. The possible implementation of the Basket blue transactional platform does not scare the founder of Le Bon Panier.
“If it ever happens, great. They will have met expectations. But that doesn’t scare us. We can already imagine new functionalities that Le Panier bleu will probably take a long time to implement”, she believes.
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