The provincial government headed by François Legault plans to create an online marketplace for locally grown/sourced products that offers an alternative to foreign giants like Amazon and Walmart. With plans to launch the website in fall of 2021, it leaves many wondering whether or not the proposed project will actually be able to compete in the online retail market renowned for its fierce and ruthless competition.
The transactional platform will build upon the foundations of the Panier Bleu, a retailer directory that the provincial government set up in April 2020. The “Blue Basket” initiative received significant criticism from the general public as well as the opposition, the reason being the project, which consisted of a registry of the URLs of all websites that sold homegrown products, was judged to be an outdated, ineffective way of promoting businesses based in the province. Instead of offering to sell products directly to consumers on its own website, it redirected users to thousands of independent websites from stores and retailers, making it more similar to an updated version of a telephone directory.
This new initiative, still nameless, would be the necessary next step to make Panier Bleu a viable alternative to Quebecers looking to promote and support local businesses. As of now, the project seeks to receive $300 000 each in funding from Mouvement Desjardins, the National Band of Canada, and Panier Bleu itself.
Photo by nrd