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#ShopSafeShopLocal program helps California small businesses gain online sales, capture local buyers

By July 8, 2020 No Comments

Many small businesses have suffered in the pandemic because they lack a good internet sales system, at a time when shoppers are using more in-home delivery. This State of California program gets small businesses back in the game, and encourages residents to buy locally.

The Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery announced on July 8th a new campaign, Calling All Californians: #ShopSafeShopLocal, to encourage Californians to support small businesses in their communities as they make modifications to protect public health and help our state’s diverse neighborhoods thrive. Running through July, the campaign is a call to action to help all California small businesses operate safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic and grow their digital footprints.

As part of this campaign, the State of California has partnered with industry-leading companies, such as Nextdoor, Google, and UPS, and launched a website that connects California’s small business owners to critical tools and resources. These resources will help California’s entrepreneurs adapt to new consumer and market demands and create safer shopping experiences by improving those small businesses’ online presence.

The website includes links to:

  • Free consulting, in 31 different languages, from California’s network of small business centers
  • Resources and offers from our partners to help businesses operate safely and build a digital footprint
  • Latest state industry guidance and county variances
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) through SafelyMakingCA.org, California’s new PPE marketplace
  • A free digital media toolkit for small businesses and partners

“Across multiple industries, COVID-19 has fundamentally changed day-to-day operations. Businesses have had to pivot, adopt new technology, open online, and change how they engage with their customers,” said Isabel Guzman, the Task Force’s Small Business Subcommittee co-chair and Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate which is spearheading this campaign for the Task Force. “Yet they persevere and embrace the new marketplace. It is up to us as Californians to support all of our diverse small businesses by shopping with their survival and everyone’s health in mind.”

“When local businesses thrive, communities thrive. It will take all of our collective actions to achieve a new balance of shopping safe and local to support these tenacious businesses,” said Sarah Friar, Small Business Subcommittee co-chair and CEO of Nextdoor, the neighborhood hub. “Together, let’s start a chain reaction of neighborly action to help California’s small businesses survive.”

“Small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy. At Google, we’re committed to helping small businesses in California and throughout the country get through this unprecedented time,” said Mary Ellen Coe, President of Global Customer Solutions at Google. “According to a recent report by the Connected Commerce Council, 70% of small businesses say digital tools have been useful to them during the COVID crisis, with 30% of them saying digital tools have been essential. We’re proud to support the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery in this initiative to help even more small businesses adopt digital tools and connect with customers.”

“The pandemic has accelerated the growth of e-commerce to levels that were not expected for two or three more years. As consumers look for more products online, it is vital for small and medium businesses to strengthen their presence in this channel. From appearing on the first page of search engine results to providing a frictionless path to purchase and easy returns, local businesses can leverage the access to experts that this website will provide,” said Eduardo Lopez-Soriano, Marketing Vice President of UPS.

The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus have presented extraordinary challenges for California’s small businesses. Small businesses across the state have stepped up to protect their employees and customers with innovations that meet the moment, but thousands have shut down or paused operations and face the threat of permanent closures. According to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, the United States has experienced a 15% drop of active business owners between February and May. That decrease is nearly double for Black-owned and operated businesses at 26%. Latinx, Asian, and immigrant business owners have also seen declines greater than the national average.

During this month-long campaign, the collective actions of all Californians – workers, consumers, and business owners – to follow public health guidelines and shop safe and local can help all California’s small businesses survive and thrive.

For more information, please visit our website: business.ca.gov/shopsafeshoplocal/

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