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CCDA launches e-commerce platform

Back in June, the Chambers County Development Authority launched an e-commerce platform where local businesses can sell goods and services.

Prior to the COVID crisis, the CCDA was looking for ways to bring value to local small business owners and wanted to expand on the typical “Shop Local” theme.

“We started talking about the age of technology and how rapid online shopping was, so we started looking for an e-commerce platform for the county that small businesses could utilize,” said Kimberly Carter, director of recruitment & branding for the CCDA. “Then COVID hit, so it just sped up the need for that.”

After searching for a vendor locally and within the state of Alabama with no success Carter said they contacted a company out of Iowa called Shop Where I Live.

The company was founded by Cherie and Robert Edilson in 2017 to help crafters sell outside of one-day craft fairs. It has now turned into a solution that multiple communities across the country can rely on.

The annual agreement between the CCDA and Shop Where I Live allows for 400 businesses to sell up to 25 products on their own individual pages.

The site is user friendly and easy to maneuver and business owners can take advantage of the many training videos available to help walk them through the entire process.

“It is not super overwhelming, which is one thing we really wanted to test out this year,” Carter said, “We wanted to do kind of a pilot year to see if the small business owners like it? Is it easy to use? Is it user friendly for the consumer?”

Consumers using the site can search for a business by name or city and location. They can also purchase directly from the site, be redirected to a member business’s website, or ask a question about a product or service. They can also purchase from multiple businesses in one seamless transaction that is processed via Stripe. Stripe is a payment processing platform that began in 2010 and is used by over 3,500 companies to accept payment for goods and services.

“We live in a world today where we want convenience, and we want it yesterday, so being able to have the ease of one transaction for the consumer is great,” Carter stated.

Because this is the pilot year, there will be no charge for a business sign on to have a page on the platform. However, Show Where I Live will charge a transaction fee of 2.9% plus $.30 per transaction.

Carter said that she hopes the platform will help increase entrepreneurship in the county.

“If they can test the market to see if a product will work or not, it will help them greatly,” Carter said.

Currently, the site has 14 registered businesses and Carter hopes to have 50 businesses registered and selling products by the end of the first year.

The web address for the Shop Where I Live site is http://chamberscounty.shopwhereilive.com

Businesses interested in more information can go online to www.chamberscounty.shopwhereilive.com/vendor-registration or contact Carter at the Chambers County Development Authority.