Published online at Edmonton.Ctvnews.ca on Dec. 21, 2012.
Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton: December 21, 2012
New website aims to make shopping easier, focuses on buying local
A new Edmonton-based company is aiming to make shopping easier for consumers, while pushing for Edmontonians to buy local.
Sendioso launched earlier this month by long-time friends and local entrepreneurs Andrea Spevak and Lisa Hryniw.
The goal is to reinvent the gift certificate and allow consumers to shop from the comfort of their living rooms.
“It’s really perfect for everyone. It’s great for people who love to shop because you can share that experience that you love with your favourite shop with somebody else,” said Spevak.
“It’s also perfect for people who hate to shop because you can do it from your living room with your phone or your laptop, you don’t have to spend 40 minutes looking for parking, you don’t have to fight with the crowds, you can just do it in three minutes and it’s still a special, meaningful gifts”
Customers can log on, pick their local merchant, choose a gift certificate amount and buy – in a matter of a few clicks.
“You can send it to your friend’s email, they can get it on their phone, they can use their phone to redeem the gift certificate or they can print it out or you can print it out for someone,” Spevak said.
The idea came about when the pair realized going to actual stores at the times that were convenient for them – wasn’t working.
“We really created Sendioso with ourselves in mind because we love shopping local,” Spevak said.
“We seem to do a lot of our shopping online these days and we like to shop Sunday, Saturday evening in our living rooms. We still wanted to shop local so we needed to create a way to do that.”
Hryniw says the service complements gift certificates you can buy in stores.
“It offers another level of accessibility,” Hryniw said. “It removes a barrier for people who couldn’t get there otherwise.”
Carbon Boutique is one of 20 Edmonton retailers signed up with Sendioso and in just the few weeks that the service has been running, Allison MacLean, with the Carbon Boutique, says she’s already accepted two gift certificates.
MacLean says one of the reasons she signed up the store with Sendioso is because of its buy local aspect.
“It was a small local business that’s supporting other local businesses so that’s what the beauty of it is,” she said.
She also appreciates the green nature of the program.
“From an eco-friendly perspective, there’s nothing being shipped in the mail and you’re saving a stamp too,” MacLean said.
Shoena Strudwick with Yo Mama Maternity, wanted to sign her business up with Sendioso because she saw it as a good way to get exposure for the store.
“With a specialized boutique, typically you’re a destination store anyways, and that’s why it’s important to spread the word in every different neighbourhood in the city,” Strudwick said.
“It’s just really another avenue in getting people and spreading the word about our business.”
Sendioso is broken down into different categories such as food, health and beauty, and clothes and accessories.
Currently it only offers online gift certificates to local retailers but in the New Year, Spevak and Hryniw plan on travelling across Canada to sign up small businesses in other cities to grow the service.
“We’re trying to reinvent how people approach it, how they send it, how they think about it, we think this is a way for that to change,” Hryniw said.
With files from Erin Isfeld