Last week Overstock.com launched a new online marketplace “The Main Street Store” designed to attract small U.S. businesses, including minority and women owned businesses who manufacture or hand-craft their own products.
Upon learning about this marketplace I immediately liked what I saw.
My enthusiasm for this marketplace starts with the the Main Street Store mission statement issued Overstock’s CEO Patrick Byrne:
The ‘Main Street Revolution’ is a partnership between Overstock.com and small and minority-owned business owners across the United States. This initiative creates a national marketing and distribution channel for producers of consumer products by providing the opportunity to sell their products on Overstock.com and O.biz (our B2B website).
It is designed to increase the visibility of small and minority-owned businesses which currently lack exposure to national markets.
By joining our network these small businesses can reduce their supply chain costs, and open their products to a mass audience. This represents a grand opportunity for producers and consumers nationwide to participate and contribute to the national recovery effort.
There is a huge need for this type of “shopping local” marketplace in the ecommerce landscape.
And the potential for groundswell support is massive.
Much like eBay in the early days, the human factor behind what Overstock calls the “Mainstreet Revolution” has the potential to boost sales for millions of U.S. based businesses.
I once read this quote from CEO Patrick Byrne:
We tried to run it like we were building an old-fashioned billion-dollar business, not a New Economy billion-dollar business. We run the company as if there is no public market, and we are just trying to build real value.
They are providing value with the Main Street Store. Note: In January 2010, the National Retail Federation ranked the company #2 in the U.S. for best customer service.
How to Get to Main Street
The Main Street Store can be accessed by clicking the See More tab on the main navigation bar. As the site and selection grow, I hope that the Main Street Store will be more prominently featured on the home page.
Because the site has recently been launched, there are currently only a few thousand products listed on the site, and that’s where you come in.
Requirements to List Products on the Main Street Store
I emailed Overstock to get the details for participation in Main Street Store and immediately heard back from Overstock’s Aminah West on the details of the program.
Main Street Store is open to:
- Small, U.S. based businesses with fewer than 25 employees
- Inventory can be resale products or products that you make.
- You must be set up as a legal business entity. If you need help setting your business up as a legal business, you can find out how to do that here.
- Ship via a traceable carrier like UPS, FedEx or USPS
- Provide product images to Overstocks’ specifications
- Use Overstocks inventory management tools
- Products must be made in the USA. There are some exceptions for specialty and niche items. Resellers or distributors are not allowed on the Main Street Store.
For the full list of requirements, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Currently, Main Store Store offers the ability to list in the following categories:
More categories will be opening up soon.
More and more we’re seeing ecommerce marketplaces come together based on values. On the opposite end of the big box retailers, people want to shop with e-tailers who share a common vision, value and goals. As a society, we are voting with our wallet more than ever before. It’s for this reason that I hope to see the Main Street Store become a big success.
For complete details on the program, how to get started, product pay out, sales management tools, marketing tools and more, contact email@example.com
Hello I am interested in finding out more about Main Street and how I can become a partner. My eco friendly business will have over 2000 great eco-friendly goods all made by US companies. I will carry personal care, household and even office products. I have align myself with some great eco-business partners. Please advise as to what your requirements are? and how I can move forward?
PS My website is schedule to go live within the next two weeks.