Small businesses in TT now have an avenue through which they can access the North American market, thanks to Caribshopper.com.
Caribshopper opened its virtual doors in Jamaica in October 2020 and this year, expanded its operations to TT. In a release Wednesday, Caribshopper, which describes itself as a cultural e-commerce site, noted that it specialises in the distribution of Caribbean-made products, presenting manufactures and SMEs with “the opportunity to benefit from a robust eco-system that facilitates online payments and international shipping direct to consumers.”
There is no cost to listing products on the site, making the platform an affordable business solution that significantly expands the capacity of local producers, while simultaneously satisfying the needs of a vast diaspora eager for a taste of home, the release said.
The site features over 1,900 products from approximately 170 vendors in sectors ranging from food and health to beauty and home. Thus far it has facilitated over 3,000 sales with shipments made to 26 states in the United States, and has tested shipments to Quebec and Ontario in Canada. The expectation is that these numbers will continue to rise as more TT products are added to their catalogue.
“Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, online operations have become necessary for survival and Caribshopper seeks to empower small businesses and entrepreneurs by enabling them to reach customers internationally,” the release said.
Caribshopper’s chief marketing officer Catherine Goodall said via the release that the site’s model is different from everyone else’s. “We looked at the needs of the merchants and view our relationship like a partnership. We help to tell their stories, market their products and enhance and grow their business – all at no cost to them.”
Goodall acknowledged that not every small business was in a position to instantly migrate online. However, she said, Caribshopper is equipped with all the tools and resources required to fully onboard vendors selling quality, locally produced goods.
“We meet the merchants at their point of need. If they aren’t ready for the platform, we help them to become ready,” she said. “We have an entire team dedicated to their onboarding. We call it our merchant success team, and they exist for the sole purpose of ensuring our merchants are successful on the platform, from onboarding to execution.”
Once registered, merchants benefit from Caribshopper’s virtual and physical infrastructure. This includes various marketing initiatives to drive sales, as well as logistics management through strategic partnerships with international shipping companies such as DHL and UPS, and payment platforms such as Mastercard and WiPay.
As businesses seek out new opportunities in an uncertain economic climate, Goodall was confident that Caribshopper is capable of helping businesses not only operate, but thrive, remotely. “Caribshopper is the premier Caribbean marketplace, committed to ensuring our merchants have the best resources and sense of community needed to take their business to the rest of the world.”