The way we shop has changed a lot over the last decade. First came the technological improvements that made it easier for us to buy what we needed at the touch of a keyboard. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, which pushed more consumers online because of lockdowns. Our shopping habits are fundamentally different and we expect retailers to be with us along the way. But how often do we look for an item by going to Amazon or Google, rather than going to a store or a specific chain? We use search engines and marketplaces about 66% of the time.
As consumers, we are no longer limited to the stores in our towns or our provinces. We can make purchases online and have them delivered directly to our doors. It’s simple, it’s easy, but it also has a significant impact on our local retailers. It’s a lot easier to search for an item on Amazon than to try and look for it through a specific retailer, especially if you aren’t sure who they are.
In order for small retailers and manufacturers to be found by consumers online, they have to understand Search Engine Optimization, social media, and ad networks such as Facebook. They are competing against a really easy process for consumers to try and get market share beyond their storefronts.
Currently, 45% of the retailers on the Amazon marketplace are foreign sellers and this is only growing. As of January 2021, 75% of new marketplace vendors are Chinese. In other words, we are spending more and more of our dollars outside of our communities.
Vendazzo, started by Daniel Senecal, came about as a result of COVID-19. Daniel, Vendazzo’s CEO whose usual career is as a pilot, found himself with an open schedule as flights were slashed across Canada. Having time to develop an idea, Daniel started to look at how people shop, and how they find local retailers to shop with in order to help communities during COVID-19. The answer… it’s not easy to find those local retailers
This is where Vendazzo comes in. Vendazzo is a retail search engine that indexes more than 100 million products from 100,000 retailers with a focus on small retailers. Sounds like a lot to sift through, right? Think again. The team at Vendazzo added a layer that allows its users to search for the product they are looking for. For example, say you want to buy a pair of red shoes. You can limit your search to your city or your province. Vendazzo has over 850 retailers onboard in Alberta, including 200 shops in Calgary and 120 shops in Edmonton. Can’t find what you want in our province? There are 8,500 shops in Canada on Vendazzo.
Daniel and his team have chosen Alberta as the place to grow their business because our province is innovative and entrepreneur friendly. With Alberta hit hard by COVID-19 and changes to the oil and gas industry, he feels that we are primed for new industries—and technology, in particular. Daniel also appreciates the fact that we have such strong students coming out of our universities and technical colleges to help us grow.
Vendazzo is still in the early stages of its move to production, so as they grow the goal is to improve user experience and search quality. In fact, if you want to get a bit of hands-on experience while at the same time helping a young start up, check out their sub reddit r/Vendazzo and offer some feedback.
As Vendazzo grows, Daniel hopes to provide a one-stop shop to help consumers buy locally. His team wants to promote a higher level of trust between consumers and vendors by offering reviews and helping with purchasing decisions.
Check out our full interview: