By Alex Gladu, Writer, Independent We Stand
Online retail has long been a gap for local businesses looking to compete with big boxes, as well as consumers looking to support their local shops. These local businesses and consumers probably know how to find each other and work together around town, but the business of online retail is a trickier task. It’s a space that largely has been dominated by one name, a name that used to refer only to a rainforest and a river.
Like it or not, Amazon has become the go-to site for many consumers’ online shopping habits. With more than 300 million user accounts and over $100 billion in annual sales, Amazon’s approach looks fundamentally different than that of local businesses. The online retail giant may have a foothold in the global market, but local businesses can take back the market in their local communities with the help of one tool, a tool that can change the way consumers find and shop with local businesses.
Locally helps businesses start or grow their online presence in a way that reduces the gap between their store and the consumers who are shopping online. The company’s system syncs with a business’s POS to easily broadcast its inventory online on Locally.com, on the retailer’s site and on brands’ sites. For instance, with Locally, an outdoor recreation retailer that sells The North Face and Patagonia jackets can appear online in The North Face’s and Patagonia’s dealer locators, in addition to broadcasting its inventory on its own site and on Locally.com.
Locally also offers businesses the option to integrate Locally’s tools with social media, allowing businesses to amplify their inventory and take orders for pickup and delivery through Facebook. The tool doesn’t just help businesses get the word out online, but it also facilitates real customer conversions. Locally processes transactions and provides insightful analytics that businesses can use to better understand their piece of the online market.
Currently, Locally works with more than 24,000 stores and more than 3,000 brands. It has grown to become a powerful asset for thousands of local businesses, but it started as just an idea from one of those businesses. Mike Massey is founder and president of Locally, but he’s also the third-generation owner of Massey’s Outfitters, a small chain of specialty outdoor stores in New Orleans. Working with a trade association for outdoor retailers, Massey and a small team created the idea – and then the platform – for Locally.
“The goal is to make every POS system a ‘server’ and let local stores power logistics, rather than Amazon,” Massey says about Locally. “We want to make Amazon the AOL of this era.”
Thanks to the hard work of Massey and his team, locally isn’t just how you should shop around town – Locally is also how you should shop online. For businesses, Locally is how they can start or grow an online presence. In fact, using Locally’s platform does not even require businesses to have a website. The platform will continue to grow and expand its services throughout 2016 and beyond, but businesses shouldn’t waste any time in taking back their local market from online retail giants like Amazon. To learn more and get started, visit www.locally.com.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering for a business membership. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local to join the movement.