Alberta small businesses hit hard the past few years are getting a boost with a province-wide e-commerce platform developed by the Alberta Chamber of Commerce called ChamberMarket.ca.
Hundreds of businesses, artisans and artists are already selling their products and services online, with more vendors encouraged to join Alberta’s largest online marketplace.
“We certainly saw the issues small businesses were having trying to cope with the pandemic,” says Ken Kobly, president of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce. “We also recognized there was often a lack of awareness of the opportunities that are available in people’s own communities.”
Kobly says Chamber Market has many benefits for local small businesses in Alberta.
“Raising awareness is a big thing, especially for home-based businesses, or if you’e in a community where people don’t really know what you have to sell or offer.
“There’s also the ability to market your products or services provincewide, because Chamber Market is an Alberta-wide platform.”
Chantelle Van Slyke, office administrator with the Pigeon Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, says there is really no risk for local businesses to join Chamber Market to boost sales, especially if they don’t have a website store or are based out of a home rather than a bricks-and-mortar store.
Van Slyke says unlike many markets, there is no minimum monthly fee, only a one-time sign-up fee until vendors start making sales.
She has already joined the Chamber Market herself as a local artisan.
“I’m hoping this will be a platform for me and others like me that don’t have a storefront, to be able to showcase our items.”
While many huge international online marketplaces already exist, Kobly says Chamber Market is sized and designed to meet the needs of Alberta vendors.
“Some of those other platforms are quite large and quite costly for businesses to list on, so this opens up the market to smaller retailers and service providers and hopefully will boost their bottom line.”
ChamberMarket.ca is both easy to join and affordable, he says. And it’s open to anyone, not just chamber of commerce members. Vendors go to the website, select the option to become a seller and get set up online. The Pigeon Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce can also assist with the process.
The only costs for vendors are a $25 fee to register with a credit card provider and then the usual merchant fees associated with accepting credit card payments, Kobly says.
“I think the number of vendors that we’ve already got signed up and the numbers that are in the process — and the sheer number of products and services that are listed — shows that people have recognized this is a really great way to get set up for online shopping.”
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Pigeon Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce.