What if an easier way to prosper in the online marketplace existed without requiring your bakery spend a lot of money in development costs? A new concept called SharedMall is being touted by Chambers of Commerce in 15 US states for small businesses to enhance online capabilities through instant access to advanced shopping cart capabilities for local sales and marketing, at no additional cost.
Several bakeries already are participating. In Vermont, The Southern Pie Company in Chester offers 16 kinds of pies from its online shopping cart, where local shoppers can conveniently buy a delicious 9-inch pie for $20 and schedule a pickup time.
"This is a great perk for any (Chamber) member,” says Scott Blair, owner of the Southern Pie Company and a member of the Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Select chambers in Arizona, California, Nebraska, Texas and Vermont are fast-tracking their mall development by partnering with SharedMall to further incentivize up to 50 businesses from each state with zero-cost online storefront setup services. To learn more, visit www.sharedmall.com.
Bakery pre-orders for Forest Fairy Bakery in Washington are one example of the diverse range of business industries that are now able to tailor a common e-commerce platform to their specific needs, and simultaneously participate alongside retailers in an online marketplace for the first time ever. Based in Issaquah, Washington, Forest Fairy Bakery specializes in artisan breads, cookies, cakes, granola made with whole grains and local ingredients.
Dr. Michael Sanders, who is the director of West Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) and a master strategist in consumer-driven business practices and business growth models, recommends that local businesses and their communities come together as one, locally and nationwide, in order to thrive online in a consumer-driven economy.
"SharedMall brings a new ray of hope for local businesses by enabling exactly that," Sanders says. "If there's ever going to be a credible challenge to Amazon's leadership in online retail, this is it."
Select chambers are also pursuing a bold vision to build a real-time database of all local businesses, goods, services, and promotions, and to launch their community's own search engine, local deals marketplace, loyalty program, and local shopping mall through the chamber's SharedMall.
"SharedMall brings groundbreaking innovation for chambers to increase relevance in the community. It fits our needs to provide benefits to our members that do not require in-person participation," says Anne Glasscock, chief executive officer for the Kaufman Chamber of Commerce in Kaufman, Texas.
Kaufman Chamber of Commerce and the Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce are among the notable chambers leading the pace of innovation with an accelerated approach to launch their respective SharedMall.