All merchants with “an address” or “a Quebec property” here will have access next fall to a blue transactional site managed by Le Panier Bleu. Foreign products will also be welcome on this platform if they are offered at a retailer in Quebec.
“At the end of the day, we will not force consumers to buy only Quebec products. It is the consumer principle that is king, ”noted the Managing Director of Panier Bleu, Alain Dumas. “You cannot be a destination if we are missing product categories,” he explained.
To distinguish foreign products from local products, Le Panier Bleu still wishes to set up an identification by sector that will take into account the degree of “local”.
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Different shades of blue will be used. A food produced here could, for example, have a dark blue label. However, we will have to wait months before having a clear definition of Quebec products.
On Monday, Le Panier Bleu unveiled the conclusions of its eight projects aimed at propelling the retail trade in the coming years. A total of 49 recommendations were presented to the Legault government.
The objective was to find possible solutions in order to provide the necessary tools so that retailers in Quebec can compete with giants like Amazon, whose profits have exploded with the pandemic.
“We know that if nothing is done, our local retailers will continue to lose market share to the benefit of the global e-commerce giants. It is clear that by working in silos, our traders cannot compete ”, conceded Mr. Dumas.
Among the recommendations, we find the deployment of “a Quebec digital ecosystem”, among other things, the creation of a common transactional sales platform. Companies that are not yet doing business on the Web will be the first to be able to use this solution.
The initiative aims in particular to improve the experience for customers, to reduce costs for the Web shift and to offer all retailers access to a transport and delivery system that “will involve the development of shared solutions, regionally or across Quebec ”.
To take the first steps in this “virtual market”, the Mouvement Desjardins and the National Bank have injected $ 600,000. Le Panier Bleu will also draw $ 300,000 from its coffers.
Mr. Dumas suggests that the next three months will be used to find the necessary technologies, set up governance and develop a viable financial model for this new transactional site.
However, the boss of the Blue Basket refuses to talk about a Quebec Amazon. Rather, he wants the retailer to be the spotlight on the site, not the products.
“We can never create [le modèle d’affaires] from Amazon. We are talking about more than 25 years of experience and investments of billions of dollars. What we think is to be able to create an alternative, ”he said.
One of the recommendations of the report on the Chantiers on the future of retail trade in Quebec advises against the idea of reproducing the Amazon business model. “Quebec would be dramatically wrong in trying to create a Quebec Amazon”, we can read.
The new e-commerce site should be “ultimately financed by a collective of private companies, with the support of the Government of Quebec, which intends to play a role of facilitator in the process”.
Asked whether the government has considered the possibility of having a transactional site managed by the State, the Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, replied that he preferred to trust the private sector.
“I wanted to see the private in this project. If the government of Quebec were the one to organize a transactional Blue Basket, that would not have worked, ”he ruled, not ruling out the idea of making other investments. Quebec has injected more than $ 4 million into Le Panier Bleu.
Where did the money go?
Philippe R. Bertrand, a dean of the information technology industry, does not understand how, with so much money, this organization has not yet succeeded in having a transactional site.
“I designed the ticket office site for the Montreal Canadiens and the Bell Center, the 3rd largest electronic ticketing office in North America. And I can assure you that it hasn’t cost half of what Quebec has injected into Le Panier Bleu so far. I seriously wonder where all that money has gone. ”
Instead, the partner of Amplio Strategies believes that it would be better for Quebec to distribute $ 3,000 to each of the Quebec manufacturers to allow them to develop their own transactional platform. “By signing an agreement with Lightspeed, there would certainly be a way to do a lot better for local businesses, and with a lot less.”
Quick, a label
The representative of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), Jean-François Belleau, for his part applauded the latest developments announced.
In addition, the association says it wants to work with Le Panier Bleu in order to speed up, if possible, the delivery of the transactional platform.
Finally, in order to help consumers find their way around, the CCCD encourages the parties to quickly work on the development of a true label of Quebec products, as the food sector has already done (with its “Aliments of Quebec”). With the collaboration of Martin Jolicoeur
Attendance and average time of a visit to Le Panier Bleu
Site attendance: 87 444
Unique visitors: 67,558
Average time of a visit: 2:02
Site attendance: 219,169
Unique visitors: 169,393
Average time of a visit: 2:06
Source: Ministry of the Economy