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Lori Giuttari, CMO of Cranston-based digital marketing agency Visual Thrive; 2022 Providence Business News Leaders and Achievers award recipient
ShopLocalRI.com relaunches, redesigned, enhanced e-commerce platform with 100% of vendor sales going to the vendor – a first for RI businesses selling online.
— Lori Giuttari
ShopLocalRI.com, with funding provided by the Rhode Island Department of Commerce, is pleased to announce the relaunch of its newly redesigned platform after eight months of proprietary development, design, and testing. The eCommerce platform is a membership and sponsorship-based site, with 100% of vendor sales going to the vendor – a first for RI businesses selling online.
Launched as a response to the initial shutdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, ShopLocalRI.com aims to provide every small business with a digital presence. With over 2,000 Rhode Island-based small businesses currently listed within the free directory, business owners are able to set up their digital storefront with product information and payment processing. At the same time, consumers have a one-stop shop shopping experience.
The platform provides small business owners with an easy-to-use digital presence to boost their revenue and, in-turn, boost the Rhode Island economy.
Lori Giuttari, CMO of Cranston-based digital marketing agency Visual Thrive and also a recipient of a 2022 Providence Business News Leaders and Achievers award, approached her business partner and co-founder Scott Indermaur with the idea of launching ShopLocalRI.com. The first iteration of the site was launched from conception to deployment – in one weekend.
“When the State closed down, we were working hard to make sure that all of our Visual Thrive clients were constantly communicating with their customers about closings, fulfillment capabilities, etc. and I realized that most small businesses were really going to struggle. I knew they weren’t going to be able to sustain their businesses if they didn’t have a digital platform to operate from immediately. So, Scott and I decided to do it for them,” said Giuttari.
Speaking of their endeavor, Indermaur said, “It was really remarkable. Lori approached me with the initial idea, and within a few days, we had the platform up and running. Rhode Island small businesses who had been worried about how they would keep their businesses engaged now had a free digital option to continue their customer communications without having to create an entire website. Initially, there was only a business directory, but within six months we developed an entire business marketplace.”
The new and improved version of the platform, launched on September 1, 2022, includes new features and improvements for businesses, including:
● Increased Functionality – a beautifully streamlined, fully functioning eCommerce marketplace with extreme attention to the user experience, both for shoppers and vendors.
● Robust marketing of the site to enhance online traffic for small businesses and generate exposure to a wider audience than they may individually have.
● Business support is provided via the Community pages, a RI Business Forum, and Meet RI Business interviews. Businesses can join a free, monthly business assessment class on a range of topics, and receive coaching focused on actionable growth tactics for their businesses.
ShopLocalRI.com, initially launched in March 2020, is a comprehensive online platform that enables local business owners to have a fully functional digital presence without the need to create their own e-commerce website. It provides business owners with a one-stop-shop for online exposure and e-commerce sales within an easy-to-manage, advertised platform that drives traffic and shares business growth topics. Consumers can browse local businesses, learn about them, and buy products from a variety of vendors within one simple checkout.
Deb Morais, Communication Works