Consumers will be able to buy products from Quebec companies directly on the Le Panier Bleu web platform next fall, just in time for Christmas shopping, Economy and Innovation Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon announced on Monday.
The latter also specified that the tool, launched by the government in April 2020 in the form of a non-profit organization, is now owned by a private company, Agora Platform inc. This company consists of minority shareholders, namely Investissement Québec, Mouvement Desjardins, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and e-commerce company Lightspeed.
“The government did not want to use this location,” said Minister Fitzgibbon. Quebec continues to invest $ 12 million in it out of the $ 22 million spent on its creation and securing its work.
“What we guarantee is that every purchase made on our platform will have a direct connection with the economy of Quebec.” […] We will not close Amazon tomorrow, we are aware of that, but we want to be another option for people for whom shopping is of local importance “, said the general director of the Blue Basket, Alain Dumas, present with the Minister.
Quebec merchants are encouraged to register now, for free, to benefit from the visibility of this online platform. Le Panier bleu intends to take a share of the profits generated from each sale made through its site.
More than 50% of Quebec residents are familiar with Le Panier bleu, which has so far remained a simple catalog related to retailers’ websites, according to a survey by NETendances published last March by the Academy for Digital Transformation. However, only 14% of respondents in this survey say they used it in 2021. About 46% intend to use this tool when it has a transaction component.
The transaction platform will also be ready a year later than announced in January 2021. Mr Dumas noted that he wants to develop a logistics, transport and delivery ecosystem for retailers. “The ecosystem requires more effort than we initially thought,” he said.
However, there is no talk of the existence of Le Panier bleu warehouses and delivery trucks. “Our interest is to succeed in uniting the existing logistics forces in Quebec,” Dumas specified, specifying that this is a matter of several months and even many years of work.
Products from Quebec and elsewhere
Consumers will not only find products produced in Quebec, because traders will be able to sell imported products. Mr Dumas explained that there was a “decision tree” to qualify a trader as a “Quebec”.
The company must first have an address in Quebec. Then, it must be owned by at least 50% of Quebecers. “For foreign brands, if 75% of Quebec stores are independently owned by Quebec, we will recognize the banner as a Quebec retailer,” explained Mr. Dumas, citing the example of IGA banners owned by Canadian Sobeys, “95% of stores are owned by affiliates that actually own a shop. “
Finally, the products must be in stock in Quebec at the time of the transaction. Mr Dumas added that he wanted to highlight domestic products, especially those that will be recognized by the recently launched Les Produits du Québec certificate.
The platform is currently being tested in beta with about a hundred companies.
Mondou CEO Pierre Leblanc attended a press conference held at one of his five shops in Anjou. It plans to register for the platform, although a minority of its sales are made online.
“Someone who is not necessarily a buyer with us and who wants to know how he can buy homework for his pet, he will find Mondou, he will be able to identify us faster,” claims Mr. Leblanc, whose only part of the goods is produced in Quebec.
The Quebec Retail Council (CQCD) and the Retail Council of Canada hope the new Blue Basket formula will benefit their members, especially the smaller ones who are just beginning their digital transition and will thus be able to reach a wider clientele.
“The marketing part requires a lot of dedication and money for smaller companies. Going to Le Panier bleu should help them grow, ”commented Karina Serei, Senior Director of Operations and Communications at CQCD.