ATLANTA -- An Atlanta mobile technology startup, best known for introducing foodies to cheap eats, has hopped on the locavore bus.
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Scoutmob has launched Shoppe - an online storefront for locally produced "neat stuff" - in Atlanta, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
The products are not made two continents away, but two blocks away.
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Each week, Shoppe will showcase five to 10 new locally-made goods - from hand-painted art, to custom confections - and tell the stories of the people who make them.
Shipment volumes will be small - anywhere from five to 200 items.
Shoppe offers mom-and-pop merchants a distribution outlet and advertising platform. For Scoutmob, Shoppe is another revenue stream - the startup keeps a cut of transactions.
The website not only hawks products, but through photos and video tells the merchants' story - what got them started - and gives shoppers a glimpse into their workspaces and creative process.
In that regard, Shoppe is as much about discovery as it is about commerce.
"Our focus is as much on promoting the unique stories of local artists as it is on promoting their products," Scoutmob co-founder Michael Tavani said. "It's getting to know the people and creators around you, and the appreciation of community that kind of connection can build."
Scoutmob, which began as a purveyor of 50 percent-off dining deals and whimsical restaurant reviews, is diversifying its offerings.
The company is offering deals on "experiences" and events and is launching a loyalty program.
"We want to be the app that curates the best of local - one that acts as a compass for everyday exploration in your city," Tavani said earlier this year. "Think of us as a local alternative weekly that was started in themobile age, where tying commerce to local content is possible."
Scoutmob is also teaming up with Atlanta payments technology company First Data Corp. to process transactions and offer a rewards program. Scoutmob users will get one reward point (equal to a dollar) for very every visit to a participating merchant. Accrued points can be redeemed for future purchases.
In May, Scoutmob raised $3.25 million from AOL Ventures, Capitol Broadcasting; Cox Enterprises, Inc., Ben Lerer of Thrillist, and New Atlantic Ventures.
(Atlanta Business Chronicle)