The Windy City is the home base of a new company aiming to provide small shops with the opportunity to do e-commerce with ease. About 180 locally-owned stores in the Chicago area have signed on with  app since its launch in August, 2012, and the firm hopes to expand to other communities soon. makes e-commerce for small retailers very simple, which should be especially appealing to those who don’t have a shopping cart on their own web site.  Once a store has signed on, there are just four steps to post and sell any item, according to Director of Customer Development Eli Gratz:

SNAP: Take a picture of the item you want to sell. Set the price, sizes and category. [Note: items can be listed at sale or regular prices.]

SHARE: Push a single button to post items to an online marketplace, your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts and the dedicated customer app.

SELL: Customers can buy from their desktops, laptops, phones, tablets, email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest…anywhere.

SHIP: Pack merchandise, print the pre-paid shipping label, give to your UPS carrier

The preprinted  UPS label from makes the shipping of an order quite simple, and reflects the fact that although takes a commission of 15%, at this time they pay the freight on every order.  There is no monthly fee or subscription required.

One of the ideas behind is that customers can find stores in their area that they’d like to support, and can either browse the store before stopping in or order something even if the store is closed. In order to encourage shoppers to explore locally-owned businesses, there is a Let’s Go Shopping feature that allows users to browse by category and find stores close to their current address. Each shop’s home on the site features its hours and however many items it has for sale on — anywhere from 1 to 111.

The program features an innovative tool called “My Cut” that encourages consumers to earn a small discount by liking items they see, getting others to sign on, and posting comments. These discounts can be applied to online purchases through the site.

The Chicago shops currently featured on tend to be apparel, accessory and shoe stores (all local, independent boutiques and independent designers), but there is no reason why the concept wouldn’t work well with shops of other kinds. You can read more about the merchant side of on their site.  If you think your business community might benefit from, contact Eli (312-626-2595) about the possibility of being one of the next cities where they launch this inventive program.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder