Maple Ridge businesses will have a new tool in their pocket to build and promote their online presence.
The ShopHere program, a program powered by Google, will provide around 25 businesses from across the city digital storefronts free of charge.
“We’re delighted to bring this leading program to Maple Ridge,” said Wendy Dupley, director of economic development.
“E-commerce is here to stay and is more important now than ever before as we navigate the impacts of COVID-19,” said Dupley, adding that if the program is successful they would like to expand it to help more local merchants in their digital transformation.
Recent graduates from local post-secondary institutions will be hired by Digital Main Street, the company administering the program, to create the online stores.
The stores will be powered by software from e-commerce companies Shopify and Square Online.
Businesses for the pilot program will be identified by the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association and the Chamber of Commerce Serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Qualifying businesses will receive training on generating traffic to their new online shop, inventory management and shipping integrations. They will also receive a free .CA domain for one year, advertising credits and a one-on-one meeting with a Google expert.
Digital Main Street is supported by a group of strategic corporate sponsors, including Google, MasterCard, Microsoft and Shopify.