Initiative praised by many traders, however, the creation of the Blue Basket has not contributed to the increase in sales and traffic, say traders and trade associations interviewed by La Presse, struggling to measure the impact. generated by the new platform.
Posted Oct 9, 2020 at 7:00 am
"The answer is no. The impact of the website, I didn't feel it. It should be a transaction site," says Anne Lespérance, owner of the Belle et Rebelle and Ananas & Bananas clothing stores.
The digital platform launched by the Legault government on April 5 to encourage local buying, has more than 21,000 registered businesses. Recall that Quebec initially injected $ 975,000 into the showcase's creation and then added 3.15 million to to improve them.
While Mrs. Lesperance's shops, located on Plaza St-Hubert and Avenue du Mont-Royal, appear on the Blue Basket site – which the owner compares to the Yellow Pages -, they are more the calls to the Prime Minister's local purchase that lured customers into the store, she says.
The same story in the Villeray neighborhood, where Christine Guérin runs the Cokluch workshop boutique, which makes and sells 100% Quebec clothing. From the outset, she did not hesitate to call the influence of the Blue Basket on her sales "weak". During our visit, Mrs. Guérin nevertheless consulted her colleagues who were busy in the back of the workshop. One of them didn't even seem to remember the platform's existence. "We heard about it at the start of the pandemic," said Ms. Guérin to refresh her memory. Despite everything, the answers were unanimous: Customers who come to the store never mention the Blue Basket.
Further north, the Société de développement commercial Promenade Fleury had given its members a password: to subscribe to the Blue Basket. "It's a great visibility," said the organization's director general, François Morin.
However, he admits that it is very difficult to measure the effects. And the merchants questioned this week about this commercial artery in the Ahuntsic district confirmed his statements.
"I don't think the Blue Basket has attracted more people," said Marise Descôteaux, manager of the Joubec boutique.
"It's hard to estimate," said Virginie Cauchy, saleswoman at the Chayer jewelry store. We have no customer memories of that.
Mrs. Cauchy mentions that those who enter the store tell her more about their fear that the stores will close again.
Laurence Marinacci, co-owner of the Buk & Nola decoration boutique on the Plateau Mont-Royal, decided in turn not to participate in the famous repertoire. "We realize with experience that we don't have that many yields [avec ce genre de site].
" I don't want the Blue Basket belittling, she emphasizes. But sometimes you get a little lost in that, for example by finding yourself at other stores that sell baths. The people who go to that site are not our customers. "
When it is very difficult to measure the effects, Billy Walsh, general manager of the Wellington Commercial Development Company in Verdun, nevertheless emphasizes that the government's initiative made it possible to emphasize the importance of local procurement. "
" There has been an extremely important public relations effect in educating citizens about the importance of buying locally. I think the great achievement of the Blue Basket, in the first phase of implementation, is that the importance of local sourcing has been brought up to date.
"How can we measure the impact? I think the ball is with them and they will definitely issue a report in the end," he continues, adding at the same time that the initiative is still relevant. cannot be measured by the number of visits to a site alone.
According to figures from the Blue Basket, the platform received 2 million unique visits during the first days after launch, increasing to 140,000 in May and then to 75,000 in September .
Encourage local purchasing
When asked to respond to comments from merchants, Blue Basket CEO Alain Dumas admits that "it is quite difficult to measure the impact" of the platform. “Our mission is to generate sales, yes, but above all to stimulate the local buying movement,” he says.
Mr. Dumas also believes that just because consumers don't necessarily list the directory when entering a store doesn't mean they haven't checked it out. “For example, the customer who has seen a trader thanks to the Blue Basket, I'm not just talking about the website, but also about social media or the newsletter, he will not necessarily go to the trader and say: & # 39; seen the blue basket. "
" The challenge when we started the movement in April was to send a clear signal about buying locally. This happened. People flocked to the business directory.
In a constant goal of improvement, new features will be offered on the site from next week, informs Mr. Dumas, who declined to provide further details.