Nearby is founded on a simple premise:
People want to shop from stores near them, run by people in their community…
They want their money to benefit their local economy by shopping locally — and the more accessible and convenient it is, the more they’ll choose to do so. Local business owners are doing everything they can to reach and serve their customers. They’re setting up online stores, taking phone orders, offering curbside pick-up. But running a brick-and-mortar store and an online business is a juggle. Even getting the word out that you're online and open for business can feel ridiculously hard. So, what are we doing to make that easier? Glad you asked…
So let’s say you’re the owner of a local store. Here’s how it works:
We'll have a Nearby store for your town — think of it like an online version of main street, or a marketplace just for your town. Local shops opt in. It’s a few simple steps to join and costs nothing to sign up.
Our system takes the work you’ve already done in putting your inventory online, and adds your store to the marketplace for your town. No tedious process or serious effort required.
We tell the world.
Or at least, the people who need to know: your community of would-be customers. We employ local writers to run social media, do email campaigns, and write profiles of the stores and the merchants to bring people through the virtual door.
Customers buy things!
On Nearby, they shop across multiple local stores, in one basket, with one checkout, and no fuss. After a customer checks out, we place orders with you and the other stores, and do the work of putting the order together.
For you, we function like a very loyal customer who places orders for curbside pickup. You’ll get to know the Fulfillment Specialist who drops by your store a few times a week—we’re nice people. For the customer, they simply see their full order delivered to their door in a nice bag—and all in the same time frame as a typical Amazon Prime order.
We settle up.
We pay our merchants twice-monthly, and retain a modest fee to cover credit card fees, sales tax, and delivery costs. We high-five each other on a job well done, and then start the whole thing again.
Sure. Sounds great, what’s the catch?
A wise question. We’d ask it too.
So here’s the small print, (but big enough to read): There isn’t one. Why not? Well, Nearby has been founded as a Public Benefit Corporation, a special type of corporation that states public benefits it serves in addition to creating shareholder value. The public benefits we work in service of are creation of economic opportunity for local business owners and the use of our platform in service of reversing climate change — shopping locally does both. That’s why we won’t be carrying advertising, nor asking people to pay to be on the site or to promote their store above others. That’s why we take the fee after the sales: we only get paid if local business owners get paid. And we’re just getting started. We know that this works, but we also know it’s only fixing one part of the problem. Small business owners have traditionally not been served well by big technology. We're building a model that puts local merchants, and the communities they serve, at the forefront of everything we do.