By Craig Patterson
Online marketplace eBay Canada has partnered with the Halifax Regional Municipality to launch a program designed to help small and medium-sized retailers to sell their wares online worldwide. Called ‘Retail Revival’, the program is a first of its kind in Canada, and is supported by all three levels of government.
Offered to retailers for free, the 12-month support and educational program teaches companies how to leverage eBay’s global marketplace to reach new customers around the world. Its part of an effort to help local businesses thrive by providing an expanded base of consumers.
Part of the program will include a dedicated customer service support team as well as digital tools and subscriptions, promotional marketing from eBay, as well as a range of additional education and resources from participating partners that focus on small businesses and exporting.
Retail Revival was coordinated in conjunction with the Halifax Partnership with support from Nova Scotia Business Inc. The Government of Canada is investing $60,000 in the project through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Innovative Communities Fund. In addition, the Government of Nova Scotia is contributing $25,000 through Nova Scotia Business Inc.
Halifax is only the fourth city in the world to launch the Retail Revival program. Retail Revival launched in Akron, Ohio and in Lansing, Michigan last year — both communities aren’t traditionally known for their retailers, and Retail Revival provided local retailers access to much bigger markets. In November of 2018, eBay’s Retail Revival expanded to Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. eBay says that the retailers it has worked with in these three communities have generated millions of dollars in sales and have exported to over 80 international markets.
“Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy, and they are making valuable contributions to the economic viability of their communities,” said Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion. “Through the Retail Revival program, Nova Scotia entrepreneurs will have the tools and support they need to take advantage of exporting opportunities to international customers by utilizing e-commerce.”
eBay says that Halifax was selected for its “strength and diversity of its small business community” as well as because of its growth opportunities for e-commerce and exporting, not to mention the region’s commitment to small business.
“Small and medium-sized businesses are essential to our economy, and we want to see them thrive. Nova Scotia is partnering with eBay Canada to help our smaller retailers start exporting or grow their exports through e-commerce, and we are making sure the pilot can have both a footprint in Halifax and extend its reach and benefits to retailers in communities across the province,” said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil. Halifax Mayor Mike Savage stated, “As Halifax and Nova Scotia are working to embrace the innovation economy, we are proud to have this partnership with eBay Canada as an opportunity to keep local retailers competitive in a global marketplace.”
A recent report from Forrester predicts that cross-border e-commerce will make up about 20% of all worldwide e-commerce by the year 2022. Export Development Canada also states that companies that export make more money, grow faster, and otherwise are better at weathering economic ups and downs, be they seasonal or otherwise.
About 12% of traditional small businesses engage in global trade in Canada — that’s considerably less than the estimated 99% of small retailers on eBay that export globally (to an average of 18 international markets). The eBay initiative could help provide a bit of a boost to the Nova Scotia economy.
eBay was founded in San Jose CA in 1995 and it is now one of the world’s largest online marketplaces. In 2017, eBay facilitated $88.4-billion in gross merchandise volume. The eBay website sees more than 8-million unique visits from Canadians monthly, according to the company. eBay also owns the Marketplace, StubHub and Classifieds platforms.