--- Le Panier Bleu gives Quebec independent businesses a leg up in e-commerce
The e-commerce platform Le Panier Bleu, launched by the Quebec government in April, has helped close to 22,000 businesses promote their products and services online. What started as a directory of Quebec small businesses soon became a platform that now displays millions of local products, thanks to the site’s catalogue launch in October.
“Our mission is to help people shop local,” said Alain Dumas, director general of the platform. Dumas was brought on when the platform was launched in April and also has extensive experience in e-commerce, including a leadership stint in digital marketing strategy at Sobeys. The project is the result of a collective effort by the Quebec Ministry of Economy and Innovation, Quebec commerce organizations and a number of people like Dumas who work in business. The platform is completely funded by the provincial government and is free to use for any business, according to Dumas.
Dumas says the platform was barely two weeks old when it was launched, due to the pandemic’s pressure on businesses to shift online. “Often small businesses will create their own websites which can be quite simple,” said Dumas. “The problem is making that website known because small businesses often don’t have the money to buy advertisements on Google, which results in less people visiting their sites.”
Local Aylmer businesses that can be found on the platform include Bouquinart Librairie & Galerie d'art, Béatrice et chocolats, L’Aubergiste Restaurant and e-Cycliste Inc. Dumas says Le Panier Bleu helps small businesses acquire that extra marketing technology in order to make their businesses more known. Since July, Le Panier Bleu has been looking into expanding its role by helping businesses with logistics and transport. This help would allow small businesses could expand their commerce to other markets. Discussions are ongoing with private financiers and the Quebec government, with an announcement expected in January, according to Dumas.
Dumas says to find local products in the site’s catalogue near you, click the ‘Disponibles à proximité’ button. Close to 41,000 products are available on the site within 25-kilometre radius of Aylmer.
For more information, visit lepanierbleu.ca.