Will small business lift the economy out of recession? Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne hopes so, and he’s trying to help. Recently the online discount retailer announced the launch of its “Main Street Revolution Initiative,” an effort intended to increase the visibility of small, local businesses by giving them an avenue for exposure to national markets.
“This represents a grand opportunity for producers and consumers nationwide to participate and contribute to the national recovery effort,” Byrne said in a statement. “Main Street can be the engine that lifts us out of the recession that Wall Street created.”
Targeting small and minority-owned businesses, Main Street Revolution is a partnership with Overstock.com that enables producers of consumer products to sell their products on Overstock.com and O.biz (Overstock.com’s B2B website).
“The point of this program is to sell products we’ve sourced from entrepreneurs around the country,” Byrne said. “By joining our network, small-business owners can reduce their supply chain costs and expand the awareness of their products among a much bigger audience.”
Overstock.com is working with local chambers of commerce to find small-business owners to participate in the program. In addition to helping “homegrown” businesses reach a national audience, the program helps consumers support small businesses they otherwise might never have heard of.
Overstock.com’s site highlights some successful examples of Main Street participants, including a Minnesota gift-basket entrepreneur who sold more than $200,000 in gift baskets in December alone after joining the program; a chocolate manufacturer whose business has grown so much she’s been able to buy new equipment and add new product lines; and a homebased entrepreneur who designs and sells urban-themed T-shirts.
At first, Main Street products will be listed within their appropriate shopping categories on Overstock.com, Byrne explained. As soon as a critical mass of partners is reached, however, their products will be consolidated into a “Main Street” store on the company’s website.
Overstock.com hopes the Main Street Revolution initiative will be as successful as the Worldstock program, which it launched in 2001. As of April, the Worldstock program-which gives global artisans from places like Bali, Columbia, Ghana, Nepal and Thailand the chance to sell their products on Overstock.com-had surpassed $50 million in total payments. It’s also a top tab on the Overstock.com home page.
For more information about participating in Overstock’s Main Street Revolution, go to the Overstock website to view a video. If you’d like to participate or find out additional details, contact email@example.com.
This sounds like a good opportunity for some businesses – although life gets confusing when you’re running stores on Etsy, eBay, Overstock, Amazon, your own website, etc. The places to sell your products online are proliferating almost as fast as places to market your business.
They obviously have good intentions, but giving small businesses national exposure won’t necessarily help them because most transactions will take place locally. But who knows, maybe those small businesses will soon become large and hire on, which means one step closer to a recovered economy.
I remember that I had Overstock banners on my blog some years ago. It is nice to hear about the company again. Have you interviewed Patrick Byrne on the radio show?
Yet another distribution channel for small businesses! The multi-channel approach seems to be the best option. One issue for many businesses will be dealing with on Overstock is communicating with the individual rather than B2B.
This looks like a fantastic opportunity to leverage Overstock’s national reach to improve small businesses like mine. I have requested more information. While I sell successfully through Etsy and Artfire, my primary selling channel is still wholesaling direct retailers. I hope Overstock has plans to include that level of resourcing as well…