“The Blue Basket has a real chance of success”

Lightspeed boss is optimistic

Posted at 6:00 am

Richard Dufour

Richard Dufour
The press

The Blue Basket has a “real shot” at success, according to Lightspeed’s big boss. And JP Chauvet claims he will be disappointed if at least 1,000 traders are not connected to the Blue Basket in a year via the software of the company he runs.

The Montreal provider of technology solutions for businesses is a shareholder of the Blue Basket, which should enable consumers to shop starting in the autumn.

Founded two years ago by Quebec as a non-profit organization, Le Panier bleu was recently sold to Agora, a private company whose shareholders are Desjardins, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Investissement Québec and Lightspeed.

“We believe in it, otherwise we wouldn’t have invested,” says the CEO of Lightspeed. ” We never know. You have to try. There is a way to get a viral page if done well,” he adds.

“There is nobody who wants to buy on Amazon. People buy on Amazon because they don’t know the local retailer has a product,” he says.

Selling online can be complex for a retailer, says JP Chauvet, and he says the problem in Quebec is that retailers don’t display all of their store’s inventory online.

We will integrate our platforms with those of the Blue Basket. We will tell all merchants that if they buy Lightspeed they will be de facto integrated into the Blue Basket. The benefit of Lightspeed is that the store’s entire inventory is available online with a single click.

JP Chauvet, CEO of Lightspeed

Often, he says, retailers have an e-commerce site that showcases only 5% of inventory with photos and descriptions.

A network effect unfolds when a sufficiently large number of traders join the Blue Basket, argues JP Chauvet. “You won’t attract consumers if you don’t own the content. And if you don’t have the ability to view the content, you won’t attract consumers. »

“We will make our software available free of charge to merchants who wish to connect to the Blue Basket. But it will come with conditions. Such as the use and payment of the payment module. In the end, the retailer benefits from a financial advantage,” he says, emphasizing that the details will eventually be communicated.

The value of the transaction to purchase Le Panier bleu and the amount injected by Lightspeed remain confidential for the time being.

Invest for the future

JP Chauvet isn’t afraid of the impact of a slowdown or recession on Lightspeed’s operations, either. A recession would actually benefit the company, he said, because it would force retailers to do more with less.

In fact, “90% of our sales are generated in the physical world,” he recalls. With restaurants filling up again and people looking to travel and consume, JP Chauvet believes Lightspeed is well-positioned.

“The pandemic was worse than a recession as customers were forced to close their stores,” he said. “COVID-19 was more than a recession for us, it was a nuclear bomb. And we’ve managed to deliver 40% to 50% growth during the pandemic. We now expect our business to grow at least 35-40% this year in the worst-case scenario,” says JP Chauvet.

We need vendors, developers and people in all departments to achieve this growth. In the short term, we cannot imagine a year below 35% growth. We will not stop hiring massively.

JP Chauvet

To support its expansion, Lightspeed has invested millions to renovate and expand its headquarters in Montreal’s Viger station, just during the pandemic.

To encourage employees to return to face-to-face work, attract new talent and foster employee retention, the company offers employees three free meals a day, specialty coffee, smoothie and other unlimited drinks. A restaurant for the employees is currently being built on the ground floor.

The cost of these employee benefits is less than the cost of hiring even more employees who may decide to leave, explains JP Chauvet.

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