(Photo courtesy of the 215 Guys)
As we head full-speed into holiday shopping season, starting with Black Friday this week and continued with Cyber Monday next, a local web design company hopes that online shoppers will consider instead keeping their buying a little closer to home.
The 215 Guys, an eight-person website design company in Old City, has debuted a Chrome browser plugin that urges Amazon shoppers to consider similar products from Philly-based companies. (The last time we talked to the company, its leaders were dealing with the aftermath of a fire at its office. HQ is now down the street at 151 N. Third St.)
The plugin tool, which can be downloaded here, will offer swaps for products an Amazon shopper is looking at. If the shopper is checking out a bamboo cutting board, for instance, the “shop local” button could suggest the buyer look instead at small, locally owned businesses down the block from them:
“If you walk three blocks this way, the money put toward an object might cost a few dollars more but it’s going right back into the local economy,” 215 Guys founder John Rodgers said.
The plugin started as a creative side project that about half the company had a hand in, Rodgers said. The company serves primarily local businesses in its web design work, but the team knows that a large part of holiday shopping now happens online.
Currently, the tool’s main categories of businesses fall into entertainment and games, tools and home improvement, home essentials and furniture, electronics and clothing and accessories.
If the plugin and doesn’t have a suggestion of where shoppers could find a similar product locally, users can submit suggestions to the 215 Guys team. It’s a great way for locals to be able to show off a great small business they know of, Rodgers said.
“It’s not an overnight magical game changer,” Rodgers said. “But it is a good reminder that you can shop locally.”-30-
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