Canadian company One Red Maple’s AI-powered tools aim to stem economic loss of $389B annually
Kingston, ON – A growing network of Kingston-owned retail stores is promoting local shopping as a viable alternative to large scale online retail. Twenty-five local shops (and growing each week) have partnered under new Canadian tech company One Red Maple’s AI-powered product search and matching platform. Together, they are offering customers exclusive store-wide, in-store discounts to raise awareness for the competitive advantage available when shopping at locally owned stores.
“It’s been said before, but this time it’s truer than ever… It’s never been easier, or more advantageous, to SHOP LOCAL,” explains Mark Sherry, President of One Red Maple. “Never in the history of shopping has a consumer had the power to go online, browse the products they love on their favourite brand or store websites, and instantly find a local match and compare prices.”
Sherry’s North Bay, Ontario startup provides consumers with a first-in-class tool presenting the most complete inventory of products found at locally owned stores, all in one place. His company was founded in response to the crisis local retailers faced in the early days of the Covid-19 Pandemic when Amazon, Walmart and other big, multinational retailers held technological and supply chain advantages over many of their independently owned, local competitors leading to many of the smaller retailers shutting their doors permanently.
“One Red Maple really provides the opportunity to compete with larger scale online platforms,” explains Christine Ray-Bratt, President of the Kingston Downtown Business Improvement Area (KDBIA) and owner of boutique clothing shops, Chris James, and Curate.Social in downtown Kingston. “The fact that somebody searches for something and all of a sudden the extension will allow them to know that that product is actually available locally and that you can support your local business by doing so… It gives locals an edge.”
According to a report published in October of 2022 by leading Canadian shop local advocate, LOCO B.C., and the research firm, Civic Economics, each year, multi-national retail sales in Canada represent more than $389B of value leaking out of local economies.
“Even just a 10% shift in consumer spending to locally owned stores will radically transform Canadian communities across the country,” explained Amy Robinson, Founder of LOCO BC to the group of Kingston retailers gathered to kick off this initiative on April 20, 2023. “This shift alone would create an estimated 14,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in recirculated and reinvested funds into local economies.”
The unique nature of One Red Maple is that its platform highlights virtually all locally owned retail stores and their products, like Google, gathering and organizing data found on their e-commerce platforms.
“People generally do and want to support local if they can,” says Aba Mortley, owner of Cher Mere Day Spa and beauty products. “The barrier sometimes is just not knowing how and not knowing where. One Red Maple provides easy access and a low barrier way to support local and… continue to benefit the community as it grows.”
Partners of One Red Maple gain the extra advantage of data insights that the company shares with them regularly, as well as promotional advantages from the company’s growing marketing campaigns educating locals about the advantages of local shopping.
“We’ve gathered and compared millions of product data points so far, and I can tell you unequivocally that shopping at locally owned stores is actually less expensive more than half the time compared to big multinationals,” explains Sherry. “People have no excuse not to at least use the One Red Maple web extension to instantly compare the products they see on their favourite Big Brand’s site to their local retailer’s offering. If they still buy the least expensive product 100% of the time, they’ll be shopping local more than half the time and keeping more dollars in their community. Think of the impact we could make on our communities if we all just dared to compare!”
The “Locals Get It” in-store discount campaign is on now for a limited time at participating partner retailers. For a list of participating stores or for more information about the company, please visit https://oneredmaple.com/, or go to your favourite mobile and browser store to download the app and web extension.