Quebec uses online business directory to encourage consumers to buy local
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Many stores in the Canadian province of Quebec, like others around the globe, have tried to sustain themselves with online sales and pickup during the pandemic.
To help, the Quebec government announced an initiative this spring called Le Panier Bleu, or the Blue Basket. The goal is to direct people away from online retail giants like Amazon towards local products.
It’s an online directory that Pierre Fitzgibbon, minister of economy and innovation, said in a press briefing is meant to help local stores compete with online retail giants.
“When people go on Amazon, they often go there to go see what products exist. So, we want to replicate the same thing, and we want the Panier Bleu to be basically a depository for all the Quebec products that are offered by Quebec enterprises,” Fitzgibbon said.
Almost 20,000 businesses had signed up to be featured on the site as of June. The initiative also includes a marketing campaign.
A survey conducted by a public opinion firm for the Panier Bleu found 60% of Quebec residents had heard of it and, of those, half said they’d increased their local purchasing.
The website comes at a key time, according to Francine Rodier, a marketing professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal. She said a shock like the pandemic can produce rapid changes in buying habits. And customers who get in the habit of shopping on Amazon may be hard for local stores to regain, even as they begin to open back up.
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