In the last few days, the information that a small proportion of “Quebec Certified” products were for sale on the Blue Basket has caused some to say that this online market of Quebec merchants was a failure. The reality is quite different. Le Panier bleu is more of an emerging success.
Let’s first take a look at certified products. There are tens of thousands of Quebec products, manufactured, designed, created in Quebec, on the Blue Basket. Clothing, food, furniture, books, beauty products, games… Le Panier bleu offers without a shadow of a doubt the largest selection of Quebec products!
However, the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, said during the study of the credits of his ministry that there were 600 certified products out of 100,000 (the highest figures). recent are 800 Quebec Certified products out of 110,000). What does it mean ?
We must realize this: there are relatively few companies that take the certification process allowing them to affix the Product of Quebec or Foods of Quebec certification. Because many do not feel it is necessary. Does a Quebec publisher need to be reminded that their books are Quebec? Does a maple syrup producer need to be reminded that his maple syrup is from Quebec when almost 100% of the world’s maple syrup comes from here?
Companies take a certification approach when it is relevant to them. But it is not the Blue Basket that certifies. These are NPOs like Products of Quebec. What we do is post the certification online when a product is certified.
But why are there products on the Blue Basket that are not from Quebec? Le Panier bleu is not a crafts fair. The Blue Basket aims to bring together merchants from all regions, of all sizes and from all sectors of activity who sell a wide selection of products. These merchants are established in Quebec and their business is Quebec-owned. So, yes, you can buy a TV made in Asia on the Blue Basket. But we will have the assurance that as much of the money from the transaction as possible stays in Quebec.
Le Panier bleu is a young project. The idea was born out of the Quebec government’s desire to modernize and adapt trade in goods to the reality of e-commerce and stimulate post-pandemic recovery. The site became transactional last October. Today, 350 merchants are registered.
Since the beginning of October, the number of merchants, the volume of sales and the number of visitors have all at least tripled and continue to grow steadily. Le Panier bleu is now a private company in which Desjardins, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Lightspeed and Investissement Québec are the shareholders.
Le Panier bleu will not dislodge Amazon, much in the same way that TOU.TV will not dislodge Netflix. The challenge is to be there. To be present in the world. To claim our space. To offer those who want it the option of purchasing in Quebec. To offer local merchants who want it privileged access to Quebec consumers.
This is the meaning of the Blue Basket. Make possible the citizen gesture of local online purchase; guarantee to Quebec consumers that as much of their money as possible will stay in Quebec. And we are fulfilling that promise.