One-stop shop To Get is breaking down the barriers to online purchases of local produce
Cindi Shaw founded To Get based on her belief that we should all be buying local to support our communities – and knowing that many shoppers want to support and purchase artisan food from purveyors in their areas.
“With the support of UNSW Founders’ New Wave program, I was able to start testing the concept for To Get in 2021, in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs,” Shaw explains.
“We are finding that shoppers are now purchasing items online that they previously would only select in-store – online grocery shopping has increased by more than 25 per cent recently – and we know that they also prefer to purchase selected grocery items from local stores because they are trusted, high-quality and desired brands.”
To Get meets this need by giving local shops access to an instant and cost-effective e-commerce system with the necessary marketing opportunities to survive in a highly competitive market. “This enables shoppers to purchase locally and conveniently, buying quality products and artisan grocery items in a single online transaction,” Shaw enthuses.
ToGet.com.au provides online shoppers with a selection of more than 500 groceries and consumer goods from over a dozen local providers. The platform offers local businesses selling vegetables, fruit, bread, patisseries, fish, meat, and even giftware, a collective e-commerce platform where shoppers can provision their households easily, locally and online.
“The number of businesses coming on board is expanding throughout Sydney, and we have plans for expansion nationally and (one day) beyond,” Shaw says. “The company’s ethos is cemented in supporting local, small, innovative, like-minded businesses, to help them grow, prosper and thrive.
“Online shopping is escalating, yet local businesses that are curated for our communities have been unable to realise any significant uptake in this, as bricks-and-mortar stores have not been set up to account for these market shifts,” she adds. “Additionally, they often do not have the inclination or skill set to get into e-commerce and it is often not viable or cost-effective for them to do so.”
Shaw sees local businesses as the innovators and fabric of our communities but understands that developing e-commerce platforms is an expensive and daunting exercise for many of them.
“With To Get, a local business has access to an instant, online platform that showcases their produce to local shoppers and integrates into their payment system, helping them embrace the new digital era and grow, ensuring our local shops are sustainable over the longer term,” she avers.
“We’re also making local shopping even more convenient – whether you’re a grocer, florist, butcher, baker or candlestick maker, we bring all your local speciality stores online in one transaction, for click-and-collect or home delivery.”
Prior to launching her new business, Shaw worked in marketing for more than 25 years, largely in the tourism industry. “I have worked closely with small businesses, often onboarding them to larger platforms,” she says. “Across both the corporate and government sectors, I was able to gain a unique insight into building local solutions, which I have used to help build ToGet.com.au. I’ve always been a creative thinker with an alternative perspective. I also achieved an MBA from UNSW, and was a winner in the UNSW Founders New Wave female start-up program, which provided additional funding to launch To Get.”
Seeing that local communities are at a crossroads now, with real threats to the viability of innovative local businesses, Shaw thinks there are many ways to preserve them by improving their competitiveness and sustaining them into the future. “To Get aims to work with them to provide them with a fairer share of the growing and shifting consumer preference,” Shaw concludes.
This article first appeared in issue 42 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine. It was originally published online on Inside Small Business.