In 2020, the Muskoka Lakes Chamber encouraged its Members and local artisans to embrace e-commerce, yet some felt they couldn’t because of lack of access to broadband internet. If we are really ‘all in this together’—as the saying goes—shouldn’t we be working to even the playing field for all?
That’s how ShopMuskokaLakes.ca was born. Out of necessity, and out of a desire to do more than just encourage people to support local. Mostly, out of love for all things Muskoka.
Become A Vendor & How it Works
Muskoka Lakes Businesses,
We’re looking to showcase and support local businesses by marketing products that reflect Muskoka and/or have been hand-crafted here in our region through our online multi-vendor marketplace: ShopMuskokaLakes.ca. Join now!
With your Vendor Dashboard, you’ll be able to manage your product catalogue, take POS payments in-person or over the phone (if you don’t already have a solution), communicate with customers to fulfill orders, and notify them that their order is ready for pickup or has been shipped.
In order to best serve the variety of businesses that our vendors represent, we’re offering three flexible ways that customers can purchase your items online:
- Through the ShopMuskokaLakes.ca Shopping Cart (Our Cart Option-Preferred Method)
Customers can use the ShopMuskokaLakes.ca multi-vendor shopping cart experience to find and purchase your items for pickup or delivery. This is a great resource for local vendors who do not yet have their own online store. If you do have an online store, it’s easy to connect up and helps support your community.
Supported shipping options include curbside pickup or regional flat rate fees based on destination (e.g. Muskoka Lakes – $9, Central Ontario – $15, Southern Ontario – $20, etc). We currently do not interface with couriers to receive live shipping quotes.
This does require a vendor to register an online Payment Gateway. Right now, Stripe is the only payment gateway supported with the ShopMuskokaLakes.ca platform. It’s free to setup and link with your business’ bank account. You’re only charged when you sell something. Fees are 2.9% + $0.3 per transaction. You can also use your Vendor Dashboard as a POS to take payments in-person.
- With Click-throughs to Items on Your Existing Online Shop (Your Cart Option)
By clicking through from your item on ShopMuskokaLakes.ca, customers can purchase it online directly through your existing store, or to learn more about it to buy it in person. This works well for items such as a magazine subscription, a map of Muskoka Lakes, or a puzzle showing Muskoka Steamships, for example.
Items can also be setup to represent an array of items, such as Muskoka themed hoodies for kids, or a unique variety of hand-crafted jewellery. Depending on what you offer, you can use this flexible setup to better manage expectations for available stock on low quantity items.
Several vendors have already agreed to offer a 10-15% discount to shoppers who came to them through this new sales channel. By presenting a coupon code on your vendor shop, customers can access deals through your online store or in person at your brick-and-mortar store. It’s a win-win, since they’ll be happy for the deal and you will be able to track sales coming through this marketing campaign.
- By Contacting You (Conversation starter to talk before they buy or visit your shop)
A customer could find your item, or to see a photo that represents the kind of custom product or service you offer, and start a conversation with you to discuss ordering a custom piece. This works well for items like custom-made, one-of-a-kind items such as Live Edge Furniture, or even a custom Viceroy log cabin.
When fit matters too much to leave it to online chance or there is no interest in offering e-commerce of any kind at this time, we can also highlight an ongoing product from your store and drive business directly to your door.
Register to join now »
What about gift cards?
Depending on how your business operates, you really could use any one of these three options. For instance, if you have a gift card system that keeps track of a customer’s credit, then option 2 would make the most sense for you. If you sell gift certificates that represent a direct dollar value to make a purchase, then option 1 could work nicely.