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Panier Bleu is closing the door... How can the concept of local purchasing succeed in a difficult economic context?

Panier Bleu is closing the door… How can the concept of local purchasing succeed in a difficult economic context?

At the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Quebec government launched the “Le Panier Bleu” platform to promote local purchasing. Three years later, the platform closed its doors. This failure raises questions about the viability of the concept of buying local in a difficult economic context.

The challenges that had to be overcome

Although the idea was laudable in the context of the pandemic, it is important to remember that flaws were noted from the start.

1 – Unclear marketing positioning;

Le Panier Bleu presented itself as a competitor to Amazon. However, it was not able to offer the same variety of products and services. Indeed, on Amazon, you can easily find thousands of products both in Canada and around the world. Therefore, for reasons of convenience, it is easier for a consumer to focus on one place. Le Panier Bleu relied on a message focused on patriotism and social responsibility to encourage consumers to buy local. While this message may resonate with some, it is not necessarily enough to convert them into loyal customers. Indeed, today's consumers are looking for a more personalized shopping experience focused on their individual needs.

2 – A lack of differentiation;

Le Panier Bleu presented itself as a local alternative to international platforms, but without offering a sufficiently differentiated value proposition. The simple fact of offering local products is not enough to justify often higher prices. The platform had to stand out by offering a unique shopping experience and tangible added value for consumers.

3 – The provincial scale;

The choice of a provincial platform may have diluted the impact of the Blue Basket. Indeed, consumers tend to feel more concerned by local initiatives that directly affect their community.

4 – Purchasing power in difficult times;

In times of economic difficulty, consumers' purchasing power is generally reduced. Price then becomes a primary factor in their purchasing decisions. Local products, usually more expensive than imported products, may suffer.

Consumers are looking for the best deal possible and continually favor the most affordable options. This may encourage them to turn to large international platforms, which offer competitive prices on a wide selection of products.

5 – The attractiveness of international platforms;

Giants like Amazon and Walmart have gained a dominant position in online commerce. They offer consumers a smooth and convenient shopping experience, with competitive prices, a wide selection of products and fast and reliable delivery services.

The key figures of the Panier Bleu: a mixed result

The use of the Blue Basket remained limited.

In fact, only 1% of Quebecers reported using it regularly. This low adoption rate can be explained by several factors, including the lack of awareness of the platform, a product offering considered insufficient or a lack of attractiveness compared to competing platforms.

The average basket on the Blue Basket was significantly lower than on Amazon.

The average basket on the Quebec platform was $40, while it reached $75 on Amazon. This difference can be explained by the perception of a higher price of local products, by a narrower offer on the Blue Basket or by the habit of consumers to buy products in larger quantities on Amazon.

The majority of products sold on the Blue Basket were available elsewhere.

80% of the products on the platform were also available on other platforms, notably Amazon. This may have limited the appeal of Le Panier Bleu to consumers, who were looking for unique and exclusive products.

In conclusion, the key figures from the Panier Bleu paint a mixed picture.

The platform has had limited success, despite an economic context favorable to local purchasing. This highlights the need to rethink the business model and offer a more attractive and differentiated offer to attract consumers.

It is important to note that these figures do not necessarily reflect the entire buying local market. Other local initiatives may have had more crucial success, adapting to the specific needs of their community and providing a unique, personalized shopping experience.

The future of buying local

The failure of the Blue Basket does not mean that local purchasing is doomed to failure. However, it is clear that this business model must adapt to meet the needs and expectations of today's consumers.

Buying local: a challenge to take up for a promising future

The failure of Panier Bleu, although regrettable, does not signal the end of local purchasing. Rather, it is a wake-up call that calls for rethinking the model and proposing innovative solutions to meet the needs and expectations of today's consumers.

The challenge is daunting, but it is not insurmountable. By adapting to new market realities and focusing on differentiation, local purchasing can become a viable and attractive alternative to international platforms.

Focus on differentiation for a unique experience

The success of local purchasing requires the creation of a unique and personalized purchasing experience that stands out from international platforms.

This involves:

  • offer unique and quality local products,
  • highlight the history and know-how of local artisans and entrepreneurs,
  • offer additional services such as fast delivery or personalized customer service.

Adapting to consumer needs

Price is a crucial factor for consumers, especially during difficult economic times. It is therefore essential to offer competitive prices for local products. This can be achieved by:

  • pooling resources,
  • optimizing the supply chain
  • seeking innovative solutions to reduce costs.

Additionally, it is important to offer a wide selection of products that meet different consumer needs and budgets. Expanding the offering is crucial to attracting a wider clientele and retaining buyers.

Take advantage of new technologies

New technologies offer tremendous potential for developing local purchasing. By investing in:

  • powerful mobile applications,
  • digital marketing solutions
  • opinion and experience sharing platforms, it is possible to better reach consumers and create lasting links between producers and buyers.

Collaborate with local actors

Collaboration between local players is essential to create an ecosystem favorable to local purchasing. This involves supporting local initiatives, creating synergies between producers, distributors and consumers, and setting up public-private partnerships to finance and develop innovative projects.

The future of local purchasing is in our hands.

By adapting to consumer needs, focusing on differentiation and taking advantage of new technologies, we can build a viable and attractive local purchasing model that benefits everyone.

The failure of the Blue Basket is an important lesson, but it should not discourage us. Rather, it is an opportunity to rethink local purchasing and reinvent it to meet the demands of the 21st century. By collaborating, we can make local purchasing a pillar of a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

Good news: the agreement with Amazon

The Quebec government recently concluded an agreement with Amazon aimed at highlighting Quebec products on the platform. This initiative represents an opportunity for local businesses to access a wider audience while meeting consumer demands for price and convenience.

Conclusion

The failure of the Blue Basket is an important lesson for those involved in local economic development. It is clear that the concept of buying local has potential, but it must be rethought and adapted to meet the realities of the current market. By focusing on differentiation, collaboration and innovation, it is possible to create a viable and attractive local purchasing model for consumers.

Let's remember that buying local is not an all or nothing question. Every gesture counts. By favoring local products when possible, we help support our community's economy and create a more sustainable future.

If you want to design your online store or add your products to Amazon, contact us .

Gilblas Ngunte Possi

Gilblas Ngunte Possi

Founder and Full-Stack Developer at Prositeweb.

My proficiency with modern tools and a keen analytical sense regarding information technology enable me to provide superior guidance in the development and implementation of your web solutions.

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