Business

Le Bon Panier, a transactional platform for local SMEs

Four Quebec developers gave themselves the mission, at the beginning of 2021, to create “Le Bon Panier”. (Picture: courtesy)

After noting the failures of the Blue Basket, four Quebec developers gave themselves the mission, at the beginning of 2021, to create “Le Bon Panier”, a free transactional platform for all merchants in the province.

“We want buying local to become obvious,” summarizes its co-founder and web developer Audrey-Ann Jean-Weisz, in an interview with The Business.

Before launching this platform with great fanfare, which more or less tries to compete with Amazon or Shopify, she and her acolytes, Renaud Guyon, Roberto Mas and Raphaël Picard have been testing the beta version of their website for almost eight months, updating testing and refining their idea in the field.

“We update it every two or three months. […] The advantage is that there is no external dependency. We are financially independent, we are not part of big corporations waiting for approvals, we are just us. We listen to our salespeople and when they want a feature, we can do it right away”.

Its beta version already has 400 active users, who make around 50 transactions per month, and offers an inventory of no less than 20,000 different products.

The Bon Panier team will not limit itself to the web to allow brick and mortar retailers to reach their virtual customers: it is about to launch its own mobile application. Already available on Android, it is now awaiting the App Store seal of approval.

“We think it will change the “game”, because we observe that the conversion rate is three times higher on applications compared to that of the web. […] We will not abandon our platform on the internet, but we want to give the choice, ”explains Audrey-Ann Jean-Weisz.

The sinews of war, however, is to convince Quebecers to download it. “This will facilitate access to the platform. It takes more effort to go to the browser, type in the address, and then open your account. The app makes it easy to access, because everything is saved there. It reduces the number of frictions for the consumer,” she says.

And Le Bon Panier still has many projects in the pipeline. Over the next 24 months, he notably plans to facilitate logistics, by centralizing warehousing in order to transport all the contents of a shopping cart in a single delivery, even though they come from different merchants. “For now, each seller is handling the delivery. […] But you only have one transaction to make”.

The platform, which will soon be available in English, will continue to improve the seller experience, in particular by developing a more precise dashboard to monitor their performance. In the medium term, it also wants to allow dematerialized products, such as services and training, to be sold on its site.

The service offer being solid, its challenge now is to make the platform more visible to consumers, especially since it does not yet have “a big marketing machine to promote it”. Of course, Le Bon Panier will go through advertising on social networks, but not only.

“We want to focus on organic research, via search engines. We want to write blog posts, create value in order to attract as many people as possible to our site,” explains the web developer.

Le Bon Panier also counts on the creation of a newsletter, but also on the implementation of a loyalty and gift card program, to attract Internet users.

Audrey-Ann Jean-Weisz acknowledges that playing in the same toes as well-established giants like Amazon and Etsy is “a big deal,” but doesn’t think their business model is the same.

“People will always have the option to buy from others. [En passant par Le Bon Panier]they participate in a virtual market accessible to all local SMEs, and are part of a community that shares their vision of encouraging local services,” she summarizes.

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