CANTON — Before confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in St. Lawrence County in March, the county Chamber of Commerce had started to organize an e-commerce program, an online marketplace for local goods.
Once COVID-19 cases began to increase in the north country and the state paused nonessential business operations — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s PAUSE order is now extended through May 15 — the Chamber’s e-commerce initiative became a priority.
“As the county Chamber, we are always working on ways to help businesses be stronger and generate more revenue,” Executive Director Brooke E. Rouse said. “The idea to create a county-wide online marketplace was in the works, and quickly became a top priority when our economy shut down over a month ago.”
The Standard Level of the marketplace platform is available at no extra cost for Enhanced Chamber Members, who pay $50 each year in addition to dues, to create individual shops for their goods.
At the Standard level, sellers can post 25 products to their online shops.
The platform’s Plus and Pro levels, with increased product capacity and added analytic and social media amenities, can be purchased by Enhanced Chamber Members through monthly payment plans.
The Chamber is hosting a webinar over Zoom Technologies at 1 p.m. Tuesday, for members to learn more about the marketplace’s selling features.
Those interested in joining the webinar are asked to follow the link posted to the “Start Selling” page on the marketplace website, shopSTLC.com.
The platform, administered by the Iowa-based Shop Where I Live company, is designed to be “customizeable” for businesses, artists, restaurants and event venues alike, Chamber Events and Promotions Manager Jo Ann Roberts said.
For businesses already selling online, she said, existing online shops and websites can be linked to the Chamber’s marketplace.
As e-commerce capabilities are not always financially viable options for small businesses and local sellers, one of the Chamber’s goals through the marketplace is to provide and help manage e-commerce services “at a fairly low cost,” Ms. Roberts said, especially amid pandemic-induced business closures.
And from a buyer’s perspective, she added, the marketplace streamlines supporting St. Lawrence County’s local economy.
“From the customer standpoint, it’s one-stop shopping,” she said.
The online marketplace is expected to be fully launched for shoppers by the end April.