December 01, 2021
A new program is aiming to expand e-commerce opportunities for Pennsylvania-based small businesses and make it easier for residents to shop local.
The state's Department of Community and Economic Development has partnered with Amazon Web Services to create a new online marketplace for small, local businesses.
“In this new economic landscape brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers want to do more of their shopping online,” DCED Secretary Dennis Davin said. “It’s more critical than ever for small businesses to be able to sell their products online. This partnership with AWS is a key piece in our greater efforts to support small businesses expanding their e-commerce presence or starting to sell their products online for the first time.”
This is AWS's first partnership with local businesses to-date, Pittsburgh Business Journal reported.
DCED worked with Amazon to develop a searchable online directory that features only businesses in the state that sell products online, meaning residents can search for local businesses that are near them, including ones that are minority-owned.
The online marketplace will offer expanded technical assistance and small businesses will be able to increase their online presence. The service is free and is geared towards promoting shopping locally.
The platform is slated to launch in early 2022.
“Small businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19, and this innovative program in Pennsylvania will allow consumers to directly buy from local retailers, buoying the local economy and creating an online portal for Pennsylvanians to sell and buy local,” said Kim Majerus, VP of State and Local Government and Education for Amazon Web Services. “AWS appreciates Governor Tom Wolf’s leadership, and we look forward to working toward our joint goal of supporting local businesses and the customers they serve.”
EY America's Consumer estimated that 60% of U.S. consumers are visiting physical stores less often than they were before the pandemic.
Businesses interested in signing up for the program and to be featured in the online directory can apply the week of Dec. 13 when the registration goes live.