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WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 12 — Dozens of local entrepreneurs could push their wares into the hands of millions worldwide this week following the launch of an ongoing partnership between eBay and the city of Lansing.
More than 60 local business owners converged today on Cooley Law School Stadium for an intensive workshop aimed at boosting their online sales. Last month, Lansing and eBay announced a partership with eBay for its “Retail Revival” program. The full day of training marked the first day of the initiative.
“We’ve had ups and downs in the economy,” said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who helped kickstart the event with Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and several officials from eBay. “To really see what’s happening right now in Lansing is very, very exciting on so many fronts. I have a particular passion for small business. We don’t have an economy unless somebody makes something or somebody grows something.”
The program is billed as a way for local entrepreneurs to boost their online sales, merging each of their businesses onto a single, Lansing-specific eBay webpage that allows anyone around the globe to take a digital stroll through products of those companies. At least 63 have enrolled.
Lansing was the second city selected for the marketing initiative after Akron, Ohio, got involved earlier this year. City officials there said products have been flying off the shelves, reaching a wider audience than previously imagined with their standard, brick-and-mortar storefronts. Lansing officials hope to find similar success.
“It’s exciting to see that eBay is going to get in on the action,” Stabenow added.
Today’s program included breakout sessions focused on the basics of online sales. Workshops covered creative online listings to generate traffic, how to save time and money in the shipping process and details about how businesses could get started online. And there was plenty of time to network with fellow entrepreneurs.
Participating businesses can expect additional social media promotions over the next 12 months through eBay’s Twitter and Facebook feeds, attention from local media outlets and a boost in the diversity of their sales.
Ebay’s Chris Librie said Akron conducted more than 7,000 sales throughout 60 countries within the last six months of the program. Librie said 80 percent of those involved in the program can expect to sell their products in five or more different markets and nearly every registrant can expect to track sales outside of the United States.
The overarching theme: “Stay local, sell global.”
Marni Levine, eBay’s senior director of seller operations, added: “We provide the platform, which enables you guys to run and grow your business. That’s what we’re here to teach you about. That’s what we’re here to talk to you about. We’re also here to inspire you along the way.”
The program — initially developed by eBay’s communications team — will include a single, Lansing-themed webpage that will help direct shoppers to dozens of individual business pages. Entrepreneurs will have access to eBay’s support team, ongoing training sessions and networking opportunities over the next year of the program.
Officials said eBay generated $939 million in revenue in 2016 and sales in the Lansing area accounted for more than $10 million of those proceeds. Those figures are only expected to increase with the launch of the partnership.
Visit ebayinc.com/lansing for more information or to view business listings as they’re created.