NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A Brooklyn startup has made shopping local in the pandemic easier and it is helping connect small retailers with customers online.
ShopIN.nyc is "the everything store," as founder and CEO Maya Komerov describes it, for a variety of hometown products.
"People really want to shop local, but the truth is it's not convenient," Komerov told Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight.
When the pandemic hit, she saw small businesses struggling and large e-commerce companies like Amazon were thriving. Boasting the slogan "Shop Brooklyn Not Bezo$" on its merchandise, Komerov told WCBS 880 she doesn't like to think of ShopIN.nyc as in competition with Amazon, but they are making it easier and cheaper for small businesses to sell online.
"A single store cannot provide that," she said of e-commerce. "That's a fact and that's something that we need to change immediately and that's the technology that we built to make that change."
It is free for businesses to join and the startup pays owners within 24 hours for sales on its website.
Komerov has a background in technology. She sold her first company, Blat Lapidot Business Applications - a Salesforce partner in Israel - in 2017 before moving to New York. She went to the drawing board for ShopIN.nyc in April and launched in July. They currently support 70 stores on the site and house their products in its Brooklyn warehouse for delivery. Thirty New York City stores are waiting for approval.
"They don't need to go and bring stuff from a warehouse in New Jersey and have all those trucks," said Komerov, explaining ShopIN.nyc's appeal. "We build technology to allow the stores to work in a decentralized warehouse to serve the neighbors."
ShopIN.nyc delivers products the same day an order is placed in one box with the stores' branding on the package. They pay delivery workers $25 an hour - higher than the $15 minimum wage in New York City.
The e-commerce startup separates itself from other online sites in that it invests in communities throughout New York, including supporting schools.
"Online shopping should be part of the community just by connecting all the stores that are already part of the community together," said Komerov. "We build more and more tools to allow the money to come back."
By achieving this, ShopIN.nyc is localizing e-commerce and bringing the neighborhood to the customer.
See how ShopIN.nyc is helping local businesses connect with customers on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above.