ALL TT Online Stores in one place
Despite the economy in 2017, with all the developments taking place in the E-Commerce industry, I see online shopping really moving forward this year. I’m happy to announce the initial phase of my TRINIDAD & TOBAGO ONLINE STORE DIRECTORY is live.
I gave some thought on whether such a site would make sense, i.e., if it was really needed as one can easily Google and find online stores in the country (the few that exist anyway). But I still feel that such an approach falls short. For example, some stores offer the full ‘true’ experience without the workarounds, i.e., bona fide E-Commerce platform, TT Dollar payment gateway, delivery, and some stores don’t.
Some stores use Paypal (which forces shoppers to create PayPal accounts if they don’t have) and other gateways; some use offline payment methods like bank deposits and Linx on Delivery; others are catalog only and are technically not online stores. But you won’t know any of this till you visit the site then be disappointed you’ve wasted your time.
How many online stores are there really in T&T?
Genuine online stores in Trinidad & Tobago that have the First Atlantic Commerce (FAC) payment gateway number less than 100. Those that have PayPal and other gateways are only a handful and the business they are doing is statistically insignificant. There is NO E-COMMERCE industry locally to talk about at the moment, NONE!
There are government institutions like WASA etc., that have online bill payment and it would be useful to note them on the directory as well.
TT Online Store Directory: The Basic Premise
The basic idea is that a directory shouldn’t be very ‘fancy’, i.e. we don’t need bells and whistles as much as we need functionality. This is not a site spend much time on on, rather, I’d love to see visitors leave as fast as possible!
Visitors should be able to easily:
- Find the available online stores in T&T by category
- Learn what kind of payment options they offer
- Have no doubt that stores are ‘true’ online stores
- Go straight to the store’s website via link
With the availability of the Wipay (see article here), setting up an online store is now substantially more affordable and there is NO REASON why online stores shouldn’t start sprouting all over the place. For this reason I’ve decided to strictly list only true online stores.
TT Online Store Directory: The Added Value to SHOPPERS
Only for the reason of promoting local e-commerce, some value added features would be helpful to visitors:
- Latest sales and promotions
- Online coupons
- Ratings and reviews
Ratings and reviews would be a true indicator of which store can provide the US experience we know and love as we all know how offline Trini stores operate, and some may bring their rotten service online.
TT Online Store Directory: The Added Value to STORE OWNERS
For the online store owners they gain what they’re not able to get on their own:
- A wider awareness of their online store’s existence
- Ongoing promotion of all stores via online advertising of the directory alone
- The opportunity to gain more online sales
- The benefit of Forward Multimedia’s number one rank for E-Commerce
- The benefit of Forward Multimedia’s good online standing in general
Directory open to ALL Online Stores in T&T
This online directory is open to all online stores in Trinidad & Tobago, even those of other web design companies. It doesn’t matter if one of my competitors designed your store. The purpose of this directory is to promote local E-Commerce, end of story.
If your store will be competing with one of my clients, so be it, the better store will have to win. Hopefully it will provide healthy competition that would raise the bar across the board.
Invitation to register and post stores
This is an open invitation to interested online stores to register an be listed in time for my public promotion to shoppers on Facebook. It will assist the pre-population and configuration of the site with hopefully ALL online stores in the country.
Interested in Pre-Registering? The directory is already live with initial population of a few of my clients. Visit the link TT Online Store Directory and click on ‘Post an Item’, then follow the steps. All submissions are held for approval before publishing.
For the moment, I’ve only enabled a bare minimum of info:
- Company name
- Category (online store type)
- Website URL
- Payment Gateways (CTRL click for multiple selections)
- Featured image (no gallery, optimal size: 750px X 565px)
Like I said, the directory will be promoted to the public in JUNE 2017. Store owners will be able to create and manage their own listings. I’ll start promoting it myself via paid Facebook ads, on my own site, and hopefully it will grow organically and really push forward online shopping in Trinidad & Tobago.