Despite barriers like shipping logistics and a weak dollar, Canadians love e-commerce. But shopping locally still means visiting brick-and-mortar stores that often have very limited information online.
There’s a large divide between the two experiences. But what if there wasn’t?
Antsquare, a next-generation marketplace app that launched this week, is looking to bridge the divide by optimizing local networks to redefine the way we shop today. The app, developed in Vancouver, looks to combine the convenience of digital shopping with the human element of traditional retail. Antsquare accomplishes this by offering a fully fledged mobile commerce platform that allows customers to pick up their purchases goods from local merchants.
“Mobile commerce is a growing trend,” Alex Volney, director of operations for Antsquare, tells Techvibes. “The convenience of the mobile marketplace will further streamline the process for consumers to access local products and services within their community.”
But, he is quick to add, Antsquare is “more than mobile.” By facilitating the meet-up experience and driving human interactions, “we are truly fostering a community in the digital marketplace,” he says.
The idea of Antsquare is to transform neighbourhoods into mobile-centric marketplaces, where discovery is encouraged and transactions and managed entirely through the app.
“No other platform is fully integrated,” Volney says. “Digital classifieds stop at the listing. Legacy e-commerce platforms stop at the payment. We take a user from browsing, to payment, to the pick up of the item—a true end-to-end experience no other platform encompasses.”
Merchants are reviewed by users, who are verified through social media, Volney says.
“Convenience and safety are some of our core values,” he explains. “We have created a community of accountability and trust.”
More than adding convenience to the shopping experience, Antsquare hopes to help locals discover what’s in their own backyard.
“Nearly all shopping is done within a 10-mile radius of a consumer’s home,” Volney says. “We are just connecting the vendors and consumers that are already there but don’t know how to find each other.”
Consumer behaviour is shaped by convenience, he notes. And Antsquare aims to be the most convenient of all.
“We have bridged the gap between online and offline retail,” Volney says confidently. “It’s a seamless experience for users.”