Do you shop online? I’m guessing that answer is yes (even though you might not want to admit just how often or how much you spend).
You’re not alone, the post-pandemic reality is that most consumers have taken full advantage of online offerings for a number of reasons. As we all focus on where we spend our time in order to achieve life balance, these conveniences are not going to get left behind as we grow out of the pandemic.
Studies have shown that the pandemic accelerated e-commerce innovation and tech adoption by half a decade (in about two years!). New shoppers entered that marketplace, and new sellers needed to get there too. eMarketer estimates that e-commerce sales in the United States alone will double its 2020 sales in 2023, exceeding $56 billion, and potentially reaching nearly $80 billion in the US by 2025.
We want to ensure that our state’s small businesses have the opportunity to enter and succeed in this marketplace, which is why we jumped on board with our partner Member Marketplace to launch Shop North Dakota (shopnd.com).
Now more than ever, citizens across North Dakota are looking for more ways to support their local businesses. In an effort to help you buy locally without even leaving home, Shop North Dakota is bringing together small businesses from across the state into one online marketplace.
Shop North Dakota features only locally-owned North Dakota businesses.
As a customer, you can browse and buy online from many local businesses from all across the state. Choose local pickup from a nearby business, or have items shipped directly to your doorstep from a business you haven’t yet had the chance to visit. Either way, you can feel good knowing that every purchase you make on Shop North Dakota goes directly to a local business in North Dakota.
We have three main goals with the Shop North Dakota program:
- To elevate small business digital literacy and digital retailing abilities within the state of North Dakota by offering free services, training, and support to North Dakota small businesses to learn e-commerce and sell through a North Dakota branded website.
- To have hundreds of small businesses from all over North Dakota selling their goods and services through the shared platform, making it easy for North Dakota citizens to “shop small” and support North Dakota small businesses when shopping online.
- To bring in new commerce to the state by enabling customers from out-of-state to shop from North Dakota small businesses, elevating income for North Dakota small businesses, and highlighting our business community to the rest of the U.S.
Over the past two years, Shop North Dakota has become a fundamental resource in the North Dakota entrepreneurial ecosystem. Shop North Dakota currently serves 138 businesses from 53 cities across the state. With nearly 1000 products sold on the platform so far, orders have been placed from not only within North Dakota (59%), but also bought from and shipped outside of North Dakota as well. Minnesota, Texas, and California rank highest after ND for the 41% of orders placed on the site that have been shipped to other states.
Quick Facts about ShopND:
- ShopND.com has attracted over 76,000 page views and 21,000 unique visits over the last 12 months, averaging 1,200 new visitors each month.
- Social media pages currently have over 2,300 followers, with a reach of nearly 80,000 in the last 12 months.
- Only 58% of businesses on Shop North Dakota have a website listed in their business profiles.
- Shop North Dakota is a free resource for small businesses and does not take a commission on order sales.
Becoming a seller on the ShopND platform is beneficial for the business:
- Shop North Dakota businesses have increased access to new customers and sales coming from outside of their local community and current customer base.
- Small businesses bring in dollars from out of the state and recirculate dollars within the state, creating an economic impact on their local communities.
- Small businesses and entrepreneurs learn e-commerce through the Shop North Dakota program, gaining confidence and skills to sell their products online, opening them up to new opportunities to grow their customer base and online sales.
- The platform increases digital literacy skills across the small business community through online learning and direct support channels.
Now that we have sparked your interest, here is your CALL TO ACTION!
- Like and follow the Shop North Dakota Facebook and Instagram pages
- Go browse the offerings at shopnd.com. There are new featured products all the time!
- Tell your local retail businesses to register with the ND SBDC to become a seller on the site.
- If you are looking to take your support to another level, contact the Lead Center to find out how you can make an investment in our state’s small businesses, and we can continue to operate this platform at no cost to the small businesses that support our economy.
Tiffany Ford, State Director
And all the Staff of the ND Small Business Development Centers