One of our big complaints against hyperlocal sites is they haven’t really invested in the commercial lifeblood of their community. They’re more like the (almost totally irrelevant) equivalent of a public access cable TV channel.
That’s why we like the approach of ShopCity, which lets hyperlocal sites, chambers of commerce, local publishers and local governments use a platform that provides enhanced listings, transactions and social media tools for SMBs.
Two former Gatehouse digital staff, in particular, have taken out new ShopCity sites: Emily Lowry, who launched Magic City Post’s ShopBirmingham after working on ShopBuffalo last year, and well-known journalism blogger and executive Howard Owens, who today launched ShopBatavia. The sites make me want to go out and use ShopCity to launch a shopping site for my own town.
The sites are new for ShopCity, which now has 30 local sites around the U.S. and Canada. The company has also launched ShopLocally, which is kind of a networked “greatest hits site” comprising the best of ShopCity sites.
Owens notes in today’s The Batavian that “ShopBatavia.com isn’t just another ‘hope they find us’ business directory with nothing more than a picture and a few words about your business.
“With ShopBatavia.com merchants can actually sell online, offer specials, discounts, coupons, daily deals, product information, set up newsletters for direct marketing, integrate with Facebook and Twitter, answer customer questions and do it all in an environment that is professional and backed by same-day phone support.”
Owens adds that “ShopBatavia.com is bolstered by the marketing power of The Batavian, with its thousands of daily local readers and thousands of Facebook fans.”