A New Way to Shop for American-Made Products
A newly-launched online store called Apple Pie (www.applepieusa.com) features solely American-made products with an aim to make American products not a niche, but more of a mainstream buying and selling opportunity for both consumers and manufacturers.
"We're very much into creating the best possible way to shop for American products," said Apple Pie Co-founder Brant Williams in a phone interview. "That means having a really broad selection and also being an outlet for people who traditionally have had a challenge finding distribution against overseas markets."
With an aim to build the largest, exclusively American-made selection of products available anywhere, served up on a "world-class e-commerce, online experience," Williams said there are three ways suppliers can post their wares. The Apple Pie website stresses that "we won't jam suppliers, we won't ask for back-end program fees, and we don't want co-marketing dollars." The first option is that Apple Pie will purchase, stock, and ship a supplier's product, which is preferable for "high-velocity" items. The second way is to sell on consignment, for items that have a lower sales price, high variations, and unknown or unproven velocity. The third option is to ship directly to the consumer for suppliers that have their own online stores or the capacity to fulfill items directly to a shopper.
Apple Pie claims to offer its suppliers an end-to-end e-commerce solution customizable to a specific brand, providing world-class search engine optimization (SEO) and a fantastic user experience. "As Apple Pie, we want to be a place where people can go where they know everything they're buying is quality product made in America at a great competitive price," Williams said. The site launched in early spring with 4,000 products in 140 categories and 1,500 product pages. They doubled that number of products in nine weeks and expect to carry around 10,000 items by the end of the year, Williams said.
"The shopper gets a great experience. They see perfect descriptions and perfect images, and the way to find a product on our site through search and browse is world class," he continued. "We really want to make that process seamless and efficient so that suppliers love putting their products onto our platform and customers love finding and buying those products."
Apple Pie carries products from a growing list of American brands in many different categories, with items ranging from daily essentials to top-quality designer goods, including a new iPad case that was listed in late June. The website will soon carry products that consumers might not typically search for as American-made products. "People don't think there are computers made here (in the U.S.), people don't think there's audio equipment made here, or that TVs are made here. People have the assumption that certain categories of products are made overseas, and that's just flat out not the case," Williams said.
Williams added that when a consumer walks into a retail store, it is very difficult to find which goods are made in America. "Shopping for American products is something people want to do, but it has been hard, but not with Apple Pie," said Williams in a press release. "People across the political spectrum realize that an increased manufacturing base in the U.S. is good for the country. Buying domestic, regional, and local goods increases employment and economic health of the country as a whole. We're excited to be a vehicle for U.S. manufacturers to sell their wares and a destination for shoppers to find those products."
Williams co-founded the company with a childhood friend, David Stober, who works out of Seattle, Washington. "We have a deep understanding of the challenges U.S. manufacturers face when trying to make their products available to the masses," said Stober in a press release. "Before Apple Pie, many American manufacturers were limited to sell through small and niche channels. Now, with Apple Pie, we offer them a mass market channel with a captive audience."
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