The Municipal Association of SC is partnering with its economic development technical assistance program, Main Street South Carolina, to build a statewide e-commerce marketplace.
The disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic drew attention to the relative lack of online sales among small businesses in South Carolina, and so the Municipal Association explored ways to grow the state’s capacity for e-commerce. Statewide survey results during 2020 revealed that 65% of small businesses did not have an e-commerce platform to supplement their in-store experience.
“There is a real need for a virtual shopping marketplace for and with South Carolina’s small businesses. During the height of the pandemic, this need was dire. Now that shoppers have become more reliant on online options, it’s time to provide a platform that reaches the state’s virtual audience,” Jenny Boulware, Main Street SC manager, said.
Once launched on May 14, WeShopSC will provide access to South Carolina’s participating small businesses anytime, anywhere. WeShopSC will increase SC’s e-commerce competitiveness by connecting shop owners, community leaders, residents, local partners, and customers in one searchable marketplace. The site will provide statewide search and gift card options, as well as fulfillment opportunities, such as in-store pick up, curbside delivery and shipping.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our cities and towns. Their unique products and services are what make our downtowns destinations for residents and visitors alike,” said Todd Glover, executive director of the Municipal Association. “By providing an e-commerce platform, we can assist these businesses in offering their wares to a larger audience, making the probability of success for their brick-and-mortar locations greater.”
“This platform can boost the economies of communities with 100 residents to our largest cities of over 150,000 residents,” she said. “This statewide online marketplace provides an opportunity for every community to participate in e-commerce and to become discoverable.”
The Municipal Association of SC and Main Street South Carolina invite businesses to join WeShopSC by creating their free business profile and sharing this invitation with small businesses across the state. Businesses that are registered now through the end of March will be considered for marketing features during the launch of the site in the coming months.