Wayfinders Marketplace is open to the public for local, regional and international shopping. Wayfinders members like Fatima have their own vendor websites within the Wayfinders marketplace organized by industry and location. The sites all have a common 'look-and-feel' platform and shoppers quickly become comfortable navigating from one shop to the next. The mall is promoted by the co-op to the general public as a shopping destination.
Fatima specializes in imports from North Africa that are hard to find in Canada. She sells a variety of items, from spices and clothing to arts and crafts. While she has a small boutique shop on 107 Avenue, the Wayfinders marketplace gives her a strong web presence for direct marketing and sales and it also draws local people to her shop. She keeps inventory at her shop ready for shipping and, when appropriate, makes use of regional couriers who belong to Wayfinders.
Edmonton, like many Canadian cities, has a network of strong ethnic communities, each with their own epicurean, fashion and artistic tastes. Many of the Wayfinders vendors are importers and exporters who are linked into global supply chains through the co-op's international trade modules. These vendors manage the international procurement, shipping and merchandising in Wayfinders to make it easy for local shoppers to get what they want reliably and at a fair price.
Wayfinders marketplace is an ideal place to find what you're looking for. Vendors are all members of Wayfinders and come rated and recommended by other members and shoppers. Although they are not in any way formally certified, they must maintain good standing to remain as active members. This makes shoppers comfortable dealing with members.
Paul is a consultant at Wayfinders. He helped Fatima set up her website, taking time to explain how everything works, including the sales transactions. She could have done much of this on her own but exchanging ideas helped confirm her best options. Paul helped Fatima organize her virtual space, choose colours and themes to complement her virtual shop contents and how to use key words, descriptors for the Wayfinders search engines and menus. Wayfinders websites come complete with their own customizable accounting systems so accountants can easily manage monthly and year end reports and prepare tax returns. The system also allows vendors to mange their hard-wall shops' accounts if they choose to do so.
Shoppers register by setting up a single shopping account so they can securely store their vital data for all purchases in the Wayfinders marketplace. Financial transactions are managed centrally so shoppers don't have to relearn how to make purchases for each vendor. The central checkout system allows shoppers to accumulate goods from different vendors without having to manage each purchase separately. Each vendor has a code and their accounts are credited directly with each purchase.