E-commerce has the potential to level the playing field between small and large businesses, but only if companies know how to utilize e-commerce tools and technologies.
California ranks first in the nation for export of electronic products, specialty foods, agriculture, technology, consulting and services. The state exports to 25 foreign markets with the top 3 including Mexico, Canada, and China. Online sales allow small companies to substantially broaden market access and product categories.
Community colleges can help students find meaningful careers by giving them the skills they need to help small organizations harness the power of e-commerce. Some of these activities are already started happening throughout the Global Trade sector.
Under the leadership of Statewide Director Leah Goold-Haws, the Los Angeles region launched a pilot internship program at Long Beach City College with Kassia Surf and Magnet Pal, two Los Angeles-based e-commerce companies.
“Most small businesses have an online presence, and many of those businesses are engaged in e-commerce as a platform for global sales from Shopify to Alibaba,” Good-Haws said.
Students worked alongside with a digital media expert to create a social media strategy for Kassia+Surf and Google analytics and website optimization for Magnet Pal.
“They saw firsthand that the skills they are learning through the digital media and marketing class have a powerful effect on how businesses of all sizes compete and perform in the global marketplace,” said Ruth Amanuel, Global Trade Regional Director in the Los Angeles region.
Kassia Meador, owner of Kassia+Surf said she’s been able to establish relationships with wet suit customers in Japan, Australia, and Europe thanks to e-commerce.
“With social and digital media, you have the opportunity to access people globally at the push of a button,” Meador said. “I engage with customers online, and it feels like I am there.”
Amanuel also saw the power that e-commerce can have on small business when she consulted for the Center for International Trade Development, her role prior to becoming regional director. She worked on BEAM, a program aimed at helping small and medium-sized companies sell more globally online.
“Through BEAM, we saw firsthand that even the smallest of companies can have a more equal playing field in the global marketplace through strategic deployment of their website, positioning on global marketplaces and interacting with their international customers online,” Amanuel said.