Welcome, Early Adopters!
The world (increasingly) shops online, but very few local independent merchants have the time or resources to a) post photos of their newest inventory to the web, and b) master the art of “search engine optimization” (in order to appear at the top of Google searches).
Main and Me is a web and mobile photo sharing app that addresses the twin challenges of ease of posting and discoverability by allowing shoppers, merchants and downtown directors to create instant Local Wish Lists, Store Pages and Community Pages, by simply uploading, captioning and checking in photos of the local products and services they want to share with the world.
1. Getting started is as easy as “snap, caption and check in“
Merchants can upload photos from their camera, smartphone or computer. This first upload kickstarts the creation of a free Store Page and makes the local products and services they want to share visible to the world of online shoppers.
2. Re-list a thing to add it to your local Wish List or registry
As online shoppers “windowshop” their towns on Main and Me, they may create 100% local-supportive Wish Lists and store-specific Registries by uploading their own photos of favorite discoveries, or “re-list” favorite items found by others. (Be a “Buylocalist!”)
In cases where a shopper (or executive director) uploads a favorite thing from a store before the store owner has heard of Main and Me, the shopper’s photo “kick starts” the creation of a Store Page for that merchant, making that store immediately discoverable online. Think of it as passionate shoppers building pages for their favorite local stores in order to share them with the world. Merchants who later claim their pages can manage all user-generated content and, of course, add and refresh more of their own.
Whether at home or traveling, Main and Me shows online shoppers what’s for sale in the local, independent stores around them. By making it possible to browse an entire downtown shopping district at a glance, Main and Me encourages the same kind of serendipitous discovery that occurs along Main Street in real life. At the same time, nothing prevents Bostonians from discovering the best cowboy boots in Missoula, Montana, or the most popular style of sneakers sold last week in Portland, Oregon!
5. Embed your Main and Me Store Page in your existing websites, Facebook pages and Email newsletters
Although Main and Me store pages enjoy a permanent home at mainandme.com, our API will soon allow you to embed your Main and Me content in your blog, Facebook page and email newsletter, so you can update and manage your showcase from a single location…with a single password.
6. Free Wish Lists, Store Pages and Community Pages…forever
Main and Me is free to use (forever) to create local Wish Lists and Registries, instant Store Pages and instant Community Pages. Shoppers, merchants and executive directors are encouraged to add as many photos as possible to the network.
7. How We Make Money
We hear this question a lot:) One thing we know for sure: our discovery-through-photo-sharing model and our instant business and community storefront model (just upload a photo) will both always be FREE. Upload a million things to your business or community storefront if you wish. The future business models we are considering will be true to that principal. When…and only when, a merchant registers for ecommerce and a shopper buys something on their Main and Me page, will a cost-competitive “hosted shopping cart” model kick in, but as a merchant you will always be free to turn down any sale our 100% local-dedicated shopping channel brings you. Said another way, we want to always be your partner in supporting local and never charge you for anything unless we’ve demonstrated its value (through new inquiries, pro-active purchases, etc) and you have asked for it. In the meantime, use Main and Me to post a jillion photos of what you sell, and go on a binge maximizing the discoverability of your store, your town and your local, independent shopping movement.
Well, that’s it for how Main and Me (in beta) works. If you’re a merchant (or executive director) we invite you to visit the site, log in and start creating a free store or community page now. It’s fun, it’s free, and there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Or if you’d rather, call us at 413-250-8800 and we’ll talk you through it.