Caribshopper inks deal with TrueBlue
... builds partnerships to expand e-commerce footprint
Founder and CEO of Caribshopper Kadion Preston (left) shakes hands with Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association President John Mahfood after signing a memorandum of understanding between the two organisations. Looking on is minister of state in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce Dr Norman Dunn.

Regional e-commerce platform Caribshopper has signed a partnership deal with TrueBlue — a subsidiary of JetBlue — that will see the company increasing its distribution points and visibility to a wider customer base.

As per the agreement, TrueBlue rewards members will be able to use their points earned to shop on Caribshopper. TrueBlue members can earn points by registering their debit and/or credit cards in the programme and using the same cards to shop at associated merchants, including Caribshopper.

The deal is just one of many partnerships Caribshopper, which sell products made in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago on its website, has solidified over the last nine months as it seeks to expand its footprint in the e-commerce industry.

"Over the past three quarters, we've solidified strategic partnerships with Mastercard, Meta, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Caribbean Airlines, Road Ready TV, the Caribbean Students Association; and as of May 1, 2023, we are in over 400 points malls globally, giving us larger distribution and visibility through partners like JetBlue and Emirates Air, giving customers more flexibility and incentive to shop with us and taking brand Caribbean even further into the world," founder and CEO of Caribshopper Kadion Preston informed the Jamaica Observer. of May 1, 2023, we are in over 400 points malls globally, giving us larger distribution and visibility through partners like JetBlue and Emirates Air.

TrueBlue merchants include AliExpress, Kohl's, JC Penny, and Ford. Every 15 points earned on TrueBlue equates to US$10 on the Caribshopper platform.

Since its inception in 2020, a critical part of the company's growth has been building out its network of partners, Preston said. As a result, the company shipped some 68,000 items as at the end of 2023 to the United States and the Canadian provinces of Montreal and Ontario.

The website also received 60,000 views on average each month, with the highest share of revenue coming from Florida, New York, Washington, DC, and Toronto.

"We worked assiduously throughout the first quarter to learn and improve our internal systems and business partnerships. Therefore, that period was primarily business development," Preston shared.

In February this year Caribshopper deepened its ties with local businesses through the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA). While the CEO acknowledged that the move would secure even greater sales for the e-commerce platform, he also highlighted that the agreement also "improve our value proposition" to Caribbean artisans and entrepreneurs.

As part of the deal with the JMEA, Caribshopper committed to assist local merchants with keywords, imagery and packaging on its website while helping them to scale. The onboarding process also includes Caribshopper providing logistics, payment processing and promotional support to merchants.

"Our dedication to our merchants remains unwavering. We have spent two years refining our support system and are confident that our commitment to their success sets us apart from the marketplace," Preston asserted.

"Our merchants are invited to monthly meetings where we share valuable resources, tips and insights to help grow their brands," he further outlined.

During the signing ceremony with the JMEA, he also disclosed plans for the company to begin shipping to the United Kingdom by 2023.

When asked about further plans to expand into newer territories, he told Business Observer that, "We hope to begin exporting to Caribbean friends, fans and natives in England first, and work our way throughout Europe. But that will be a future endeavour as we continue to research consumer behaviour in different pockets across the globe."

At the same time, Preston said the company is also aiming to expand its merchant network outside of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, given the demand for Caribbean products.

"Today the Caribbean in its entirety produces hundreds of millions of products, yet 80 per cent never leave our islands. This 20 per cent exported abroad accounts for US$13 billion in revenue, so I ask myself the question: What if we could do more?"

As Caribshopper continues to engage in research on the needs of the diaspora, the vision is to become the "cultural hub" of products that hold a nostalgic value for the region.

"We see partnerships as a the catalyst to accelerate this vision to reality…partnerships that allow us to be[come] strong in the areas we're still developing," Preston explained.

BY JOSIMAR SCOTT Senior reporter

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