Business Resource: Newest Online Retail Haven: Shop on Main

Imagine taking a stroll down Main Street, going from boutique to boutique, window shopping, and purchasing the latest trends, all while sitting in front of your computer screen. Imagine engaging with fellow fashionistas and building personalized neighborhoods consisting of your favorite stores from across the country with just the click of a mouse.

These luxuries cannot be found on traditional online retail websites, but is now here to make all of your virtual fashion dreams come true!

With you can fully delight in your shopping desires, with direct access to the best online boutiques across the country. The site is fully interactive, allowing you to connect with other users through its social media channel without the hassle of trolls and stalkers, all while browsing the website as if you are strolling along the boulevard, browsing as you go.

So, I wanted to know more about Shop on Main because I am a big fan of Main Streets, USA, because you can find unique shops.  The interview is me: FA and SM is Shop on Main.

Faten (FA)What inspired the creation of Shop on Main?

Shop on Main (SM): We had several small business clients who were frustrated with their online sales.  We found that it was nearly impossible to help them within the confines of the current online sales platforms available. Most are not really set up favorably for the small business. You wind up competing solely on price, and sometimes the platforms themselves will even compete against you. Worse, the shopper often doesn’t even know exactly whom they are purchasing from. Small businesses spend time, effort and money building their store –but- the only business shoppers see is the platform itself.

So we wanted to create something that would be a better experience for small businesses, especially our clients.

But how to make it appealing to shoppers? Why should they come here instead of visiting the places that already exist? This is what led us to develop the idea of creating a unique experience for shoppers. One where you can shop like we do in the real world.  Pick an area (say San Francisco) then explore and discover … rather than hunt, add it to your cart and buy.

So really, we’re hoping to create something new on two fronts: A better experience for merchants, and a unique experience for shoppers. 

FA: Who is behind the website?
SM: JJSmith Marketing. We’re a small company that handles internet marketing for clients. Our founder, Joseph Smith, was involved in online and software companies like in their earliest days. He took this knowledge and built a small team of talented dreamers who are just crazy enough to think they can change the world. The online world, anyway. 

FA: What do the owners/creators hope Shop on Main will achieve?
SM: Right now, millions of tiny little Mom and Pop stores have their existence threatened not only by big box stores, but by the rise of online shopping. We envision a path to getting those stores online in a way that allows them to use the power of the internet FOR their businesses rather than feeling that it’s something they can’t quite make work. Or worse, something that’s an actual threat to their shops.

We want to create a place where merchants can grow their businesses together with thousands of other merchants from across the country, without just a race to the lowest price.

We see a place where shoppers can connect with those businesses and support them. But also, where shoppers can feel enriched by the shopping experience. Where you can spend an hour when you’re stuck on the bus or at the waiting room and walk away without feeling like you’ve wasted time, but instead that you’ve been somewhere, that you’ve experienced something new.

This is where you can find the unique gems that are hidden in stores all over the country (and eventually the world!) that aren’t found online now, because it’s not worth the effort for the smallest stores to add them to the giant shopping platforms.  

FA: What can our readers on the site?  Why should they stop there?
SM: If they’re merchants, they should definitely talk to us about creating a store listing. Even if they’ve never sold products online before, we can help them get set up and make it work in a way that truly benefits them. We have some special benefits laid out for the merchants who sign up before we open to the public that will definitely make it worthwhile to sign up now rather than later when we’re the big thing online.

If you’re a shopper, then we have our “First Shoppers Club.” As we gear up to launch the site in the next 2-3 months, we need people that want to provide feedback in exchange for some really nice perks and benefits. What do they think of the experience as it unfolds? What do we need to add or change to make it truly unique for them?

We need to know what real shoppers think, and if they’ll actually provide that feedback we’ll make it well worth their while!

FA: How is Shop on Main similar/different to Shop on Main Street in real life?
SM: For one thing, it will be open 24 hours a day. So if you want to see what’s new at the store on the corner (or the corner in San Francisco or New York City) you can do that at 3 am. You’ll be able to add products to your cart from different stores all over the country and only check out once (we’ll divide the money and get it to the correct stores on our end, so for them it’s as if you checked out there, but for you it’s seamless).

It will be similar to shopping Main Street in that you can browse the stores in a particular area without having a certain product in mind. Merchants will be able to create a “store front window” that they can completely customize – some may want to show you certain product images in that window, some may want to show you a video of their quirky storefront, or a video of the owner saying hello… or maybe they just have text they want to put there for you to read. So as you scroll through your results, it’s like walking down a street and seeing which doors you want to open up, walk in and check out. 

FA: Anything else to add?
SM: Merchants are going to be the key to this entire experience. So if you have products to sell, definitely get in touch! And if you’re a shopper who has a favorite store you’d really like to see, please let us know!

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