A new site or network of sites, ShopCity, aims to be a comprehensive platform for consumers and businesses at the local-local level, but on a potentially global basis. The Canada-based site quietly launched over the weekend:
There’s a broad suite of tools and marketing services for local businesses available through the site, but they don’t involve distribution to third party sites or networks for the time being.
I spoke last week with Colin Pape, one of the founders of ShopCity. Though the site and the platform is polished, the question arises: “how will you compete with more familiar local online brands and get traffic?” He said that they’ll get traffic through SEO but also through outreach and partnerships with local organizations and cited some examples of those relationships in different markets. He added that the local stores and shops will promote their profiles and offerings on the site.
As part of its pitch to local businesses, ShopCity does not accept ads from franchises or national-local businesses; it’s all about the “mom and pop” and independents (though sometimes moms and pops operate franchises; think Hallmark, Hardware stores). This “political” or policy stance will help create an identity in the market and win ShopCity some adherents among consumers and gratitude among local businesses.
This sort of Cityname.X.com strategy has been tried in the past — HelloMetro immediately comes to mind — without huge success, but ShopCity is being smart by taking a “political” position on behalf of local businesses and may generate a lot of good will as a result.