Webinar Presentation

Webinar Transcription

To download the webinar handout, click here.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): Good morning, I’m Johanna Maska, CEO of Global Situation Room, and we’re partnering with California International Trade Center (www.cainternationaltrade.org), powered by California’s Community Colleges for today’s webinar. The goal of today is to talk about the future of small business online through ecommerce, the international opportunities that exist for today’s businesses, and how ecommerce can help businesses grow and scale.

The hosts of today are the California International Trade Center (www.cainternationaltrade.org), and Global:SF (www.globalsf.biz.) In a series of webinars, they will bring together public and private resources to help businesses move online and grow global. Trends already told the story that consumers were moving online and that businesses with international sales are better prepared to whether economic shifts. But the current circumstances of this pandemic have expedited that shift. According to Forbes, U.S. retailers online, year over year, revenue growth right now is up 68%. There has been an impressive 146% increase in all online retail orders. So, for our small businesses that in many cases have had to shut down their storefront, the goal of this webinar is to help those businesses build sustainable and global ecommerce storefronts that power their future. 

A couple of guidelines. We will be taking questions throughout the webinar and the Q&A section. We will get to as many of those questions as we can at the end of the presentation. All questions that have not been answered will be on the website afterwards. Please download today’s handout that’s available in the GoTo Webinar preview screen. The handout has information about the speakers and the programs that will be discussed. Should you miss any part of the webinar, all of it will be available at the end of the webinar at www.cainternationaltrade.org, just so that you know, we will start with the public resources available. Then, we will transition to eBay resources, and transition lastly, to Shopify.

Without further ado, I’ll introduce Leah Gold-Haws, she is the State Director of the California International Trade Center. She’s spent the last decade as a leading expert in international trade. She is the State Director of the California International Trade Center and Global Trade for California Community Colleges and is a Board member of the World Trade Center Los Angeles (www.wtcla.org), an Economic Commissioner on the International Trade for City of Long Beach and an appointee to the District Export Council Southern California Leadership Task Force. Leah, take it away.

California International Trade Center eCommerce Resources

Leah Goold-Haws (CITC): Good morning, I am so excited to be hosting this webinar. This is my favorite audience. I, too, have been a business owner and understand all that goes with that and sold my products, which were manufactured in China, sold it through ecommerce to eventually eleven different countries. And so, I’m really excited to have this discussion today and highlight how women are leading their businesses through ecommerce. I just wanted to share with you that the California International Trade Center is a service provided to the state, on behalf of small businesses, you can find our information on www.cainternationaltrade.org, and we’ll bring that link up at the end, it’s also in your handout. But I wanted to point out that we have a host of online self-serve tools and resources. They include webinars on topical market insights and assistance to help you to devise your ecommerce strategies. We have assessments available to help you understand your current SEO and ecommerce capabilities and dive into the specific pain points that you’re up against. We have access to consultants who can help walk you through some of those challenges. And as you’ll hear this morning, we have several partners who provide a tremendous amount of support for small business owners. And we frequently make recommendations and referrals to those partners to help assist you. So, I just wanted to point out that that’s an overview of what we have. And because we’re connected to the colleges, we also work with our students, and we have an excellent Virtual Internship Program (www.cainternationaltrade.org/vip-application) that is focused solely on ecommerce, and is designed to help small businesses succeed. Then I’ll just close, by saying to Johanna’s point, that indeed small businesses are actually our number one exporter, and typically a small business exporter, outpaced their domestic competitions so it’s well worth your consideration and we are here to help. Thank you so much.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): Thank you so much. Next up, we have Diana Dominguez. As Diana is going to join us via audio, she is a Special Advisor for International Affairs and Trade in the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). She manages the export strategy of Go-Biz, International Affairs and Trade team, and administers a STEP grant program designed to assist small businesses with their export trade activity. Diana.

Diana Dominguez (GO-Biz): Thank you Johanna, and good morning, everyone, Diana Dominguez here at GO- Biz. Apologies for the technical difficulties and not being able to join you by video but nonetheless, I’m happy to join today’s conversation. For those of you that are new to GO-Biz, we serve as the state of California’s leader for job growth, economic development and business assistance efforts. We offer no cost consultation services for incentive identification, regulatory and permitting compliance assistance, as well as foreign direct investment and export assistance. First of all, I’d like to thank Global:SF and the Chancellor’s Office California International Trade Center for hosting us today. I’m thankful for your continued leadership serving California exporters, particularly during these difficult times, and thank you to Johanna for helping us navigate today’s conversation, ensuring small business resources are available to all Californians is top of our priority.

GO-Biz COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

If I can take a moment, I’d like to start this conversation by not only thanking the businesses for participating today, but by thanking you for the incredible personal effort that you are all making, to meet this moment during our statewide response to COVID-19. Given the quickly changing circumstances, I’d like to highlight a number of different resources with comprehensive and up to date information. The first helpful resource, which is regularly updated, is the one stop website that details the state’s response to COVID-19. If you’ve been following Governor Newsom’s press announcement, you’re likely familiar with it (www.covid19.ca.gov.)  Specifically, I’d like to call your attention to the industry guidelines that have been published that have been issued by the California Department of Public Health in conjunction with CAL OSHA to help workplaces operate and re-open safely. GO-Biz also put together a list of resources to help California businesses impacted by COVID-19, that cited https://business.ca.gov/coronavirus-2019/. On this site you can find Program Impact Videos and a list of weekly webinars that provide short deep dive on funding opportunities during the pandemic and also on this site, you can sign up to receive our weekly newsletter to receive information on the latest developments. The last COVID-19 related site, I’d like to highlight is the California COVID-19 Medical Supplies Contribution webpage, which is https://covid19supplies.ca.gov/ , so you can visit this site if you’re interested in contributing PPE resources, either per donation or purchase. The support, our response to COVID-19. 

GO-Biz International Trade Resources

Pivoting to today’s conversation are GO-Biz International Affairs and Trade team, as I mentioned earlier, is to provide foreign direct investment attraction and export assistance by way of several programs. Today, I’d like to highlight our Export Training Network, the California State Trade Expansion Program, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture Ag Export Program. First, in January of 2020, this year, GO-Biz launched the state Export Training Network, and the goal of the network is to promote, support and increase the number of California exporters in all regions of California. Network partners are working collaboratively to support California exporters reach international markets. I’m happy to highlight today’s webinar is brought to you by two of our network partners, the California International Trade Center – CITC (www.cainternationaltrade.org) and Global:SF (www.globalsf.biz) as well. Thank you both again.

Secondly, I’d like to highlight our State Trade Expansion Program, commonly referred to as STEP. This program is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration. It is administered by GO-Biz and our California Department of Food and Agriculture in partnership with various export promotion partners across the state. The STEP Program supports small businesses, increase their exports by providing grants for international trade shows, trade missions, and export promotion activity. I understand many of you joining us today are interested in cross border ecommerce. You can apply to recover up to $5000 in STEP Program reimbursements for setting up or enhancing your ecommerce efforts. Eligible reimbursements, for example, can include search engine optimization (SEO) cause, localization costs, costs to translate your website, shipment of sample products, etc. Briefly, the entire STEP application is online, eligibility requirements are based on your business size. We measure based on your revenue, but typically companies with 500 employees or less qualified. For more information and to see if you are eligible and also to register, you can visit https://californiaexport.org/icep. And please note, we’re in the process of making corrections and web improvements, so if the site is down, you could circle back in the afternoon. And, lastly, for those of you with agricultural products, I’d like to quickly highlight the California Department of Food and Agriculture Export Program. The Department offers an Ag Export Training Program targeted for ready to export Ag businesses and for those seeking market expansion. The California Department of Food and Ag is also our State point of contact for WUSATA programming. That stands for the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association (www.wusata.org.) They deliver various programs and services that allow Western U.S. agribusinesses compete in the export market. I’d like to briefly mention their fund match program, because eligible companies can receive up to US$300,000 in reimbursement and for marketing cause per year. This application opens up in August. For more information, you can visit www.wusata.org or reach out to me to get you connected. I know this is quite a bit of information, so we don’t expect you to become professional today. If you need help navigating these resources, know that we’re here to help you and point you in the right direction. With that, I’d like to turn it back over to Johanna. Johanna?

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): Thank you so much. I appreciate that Diana and we’ll put the websites in the chat feature so that you can see that. Again, throughout the webinar, if you have any questions, you’re more than welcome to enter them in the GoTo Webinar control panel and we’ll try to address all questions at the end. Next step, we have Julianne Hennessy. Julianne is the Director of the U.S. Commercial Services in Los Angeles, the export promotion arm of the US. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. Hennessy assists small to medium sized businesses to reach their export potential by identifying key export markets, developing and implementing market entry strategies, and providing information on regulations and import requirements in markets around the world. Julienne!

U.S. Commercial Services Resources

Julianne Hennessy (U.S. Commercial Services): Thank you very much, Johanna, and thank you as well Leah and Darlene for the opportunity to participate in today’s program to discuss Commercial Service, one of the federal government resources, available to assist U.S. businesses. The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. The U.S. Commercial Service Trade professionals in over a hundred U.S. cities and in more than 70 countries, help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new markets. Our mission is to promote the exports of goods and services from the United States, particularly by small and medium sized businesses, to represent U.S. businesses interests internationally and to help U.S. businesses find qualified international partners. In response to the global health crisis, our offices around the world are 100% teleworking, but we are still open for business and available to assist U.S. companies through the many virtual services that we’re offering. 

Particularly, as it relates to this program, focusing on ecommerce. I’d like to highlight two programs, in particular, are customized market research, which offers detailed information, including market trends, customary distribution of promotion practices, and other factors. We also offer our Initial Market Check, which is an initial assessment of the market potential of a product or service in a targeted market. I’d like to draw attention as well to the Commercial Services eCommerce Innovation Lab, or as we call it EIL, which offers training and tools for U.S. small businesses to establish and further develop a digital strategy and ecommerce presence. Some of the resources available on EIL include: a five-part ecommerce basics videos, these brief high-quality educational training videos cover the following foundational elements of the online sales channel. For example, building your digital brand abroad, website optimization for international sales, international shipping options for ecommerce sales, how to get paid after making an international online sale, and choosing the right channel mix. They can be viewed on www.trade.gov/ecommerce. We also offer a website globalization review service, or the WGR Gap Analysis, as we call it. The WGR Gap Analysis Service uses two web crawler tools along with ITA international expertise, to provide a robust, action-oriented analysis of a website’s ability to be found by overseas audiences. We offer the ecommerce Business Service Provider Directory or BSPD as we call it. This service aggregates the ecosystem of digital strategy and ecommerce service providers in the United States whose products and technical expertise to address the needs of companies moving into the online sales channel. These three service providers include, among other categories, digital marketing, cybersecurity, logistics, legal, and regulatory, among others. Finally, our Digital Readiness Assessment, which also helps companies develop a step by step plan to enhance their online presence, reach international audience, and grow global sales. Again, these resources are available on www.trade.gov/ecommerce. With that, Johanna, I’ll turn it back over to you. Thank you very much for the opportunity.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): Thank you so much, Julianne. I know that next step we’ve got Darlene Chiu Bryant. Darlene is a founder and Executive Director of Global:SF, a non-profit that facilitates trade and investment through global access to government, business, cultural, and educational communities. Global:SF is a co-host of today’s event.

Global:SF International Trade Resources

Darlene Chiu (Global:SF): Good morning to everyone who has who have joined us today. My name is starting to Brian. I am the Founder and Executive Director of Global:SF. Happy to be here and share with you and our network actually, Global:SF partners with the City of San Francisco as well as SBDC. We are an affiliate center. We’re a non-profit that is focused on helping local companies go overseas while we have helped and identified investment companies land in San Francisco Bay Area. We’ve already helped over a hundred companies. Actually, we’ve helped over a thousand companies land in San Francisco Bay Area and we’ve attracted more than $5 billion worth of foreign direct investment. I like to share that our story has, is very interesting. We started in 2008 as China:SF, and during that time we were going through recession, which means when you think about going global, there is always opportunity. I know that during these very unprecedented times a lot of you are staying home wondering what’s next and what can you do to actually, start your business or rekindle it, what do you do? And I think that going global is definitely one of the ways to go. If there’s any example, when you look at what’s going on in China, for example, they had rested, or if you will call that, they’d stop for maybe 2 or 3 weeks, and they have been up and running ever since. I think that it’s very important to be resilient. We’re here to help you. The services that we provide are free of charge, definitely, to all the clients that come to us, because we are part of the SBDC network. And for more information, please visit us at www.globalsf.biz, and we’ll go from there. Thank you all for joining us, and you have much to learn today.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): Thank you so much, Darlene. I know we’re all optimistic of the future ahead of us, even in these uncertain times, but we couldn’t be more excited to have private partners joining us today with resources to help businesses sell online and oversees. First step, we have eBay, and we have Liz Austin, who will be on audio. Liz is a marketing expert and Senior Manager for Community Engagement at eBay, where she helps companies connect and engage customers such as Angie Cardona-Nelson. I know we’ve got your video. I’ll introduce you quickly and then we’ll go back to Liz. Angie founded eWaste Direct, Inc. (www.ewastedirect.com) with her husband in 2008, the goal of this green business was to divert electronic waste from landfills. Started on Earth Day, the Nelson’s focused on collecting broken and retired electronics from businesses and selling the materials to various scrap recyclers. However, soon they realized that instead of selling the electronics to vendors to be destroyed for commodities, they could list marketable items for resale on eBay. So, we’ll have Liz talk a little bit about the programs that are available. And then, Angie will talk about what she’s seeing as a small business merchant that seeing an increase online right now. 

eBay Services and Resources for Businesses 

Liz Austin (eBay): Thank you for everyone for having me today, and I’m incredibly thrilled to be here and speaking to everyone in attendance on the webinar. And, thank you for taking the time out of your day, knowing what goes into your day. That is no small asked, so I appreciate your time and the opportunity to talk to you about what eBay (www.ebay.com) is doing and has always done to small businesses. And I’m joined here, obviously, with Angie today, who is one of our amazing small businesses. And she will talk about the business that she runs, and also the purpose that she’s able to pursue as a result of running her business online. But to start with, I’d like just to take a quick snapshot of how we began and where we are today. 

So, our company was founded 25 years ago by a French immigrant, Pierre Omidyar. He has a vision for a first of its kind marketplace that was powered by the goodness of humanity. And by the trust that we build with each other, when we connect through ecommerce. This wild experiment began with a transaction between strangers from a seller in California to buyer in Canada. And today, we now enable multiple transactions every single second, helping millions of sellers reach buyers around the world. And with each connection, we empower people and create economic opportunity for all. This is Pierre’s goal when he created eBay, and it continues to drive us today. 

What does this mean in data? We know how much online and the digital world loves data. And we are very open and transparent about our own data and particularly with our sellers to help empower your businesses. So today eBay moves more than $21 billion in merchandise and we give our sellers access to over 174 million buyers across the world. We have over 1.4 billion listings and much to their friends believe 90% of algae and fee or our sales is actually fixed price. We are no longer just an auction house. And with our massive reach scale, we’re able to drive traffic and create demand. And so, what does that mean from an inventory perspective? Did you know that a watch is purchased every 5 seconds on eBay? And this is just in the U.S. A tool is purchased every 3 seconds. Sports trading card is purchased every second. And a smartphone is purchased every 5 seconds. But despite our incredible growth over the last 25 years, empowering small businesses to compete and thrive in today’s economy, remains at the heart of everything that we do, and our fundamental business model makes us uniquely capable of doing it. 

A unique value proposition consists of four main foundations. 1) Partnership: we are completely supportive. We don’t compete with our sellers; their success is our success. 2) Flexibility: we’re open no matter who you are, what you do, where you come from, you can sell and run your business on eBay. It is free and accessible for all businesses of all types and sizes. We have different programs, different services, different tools, and it’s all in control of the seller or the business that runs their operations on eBay. You are the experts in how you run your business. We’re there to power your growth. 3) Transparency: as I was saying, we’re completely transparent, we’re honest, we’re open, we’re accountable. We have sellers’ protections that protect you every second of the way. We have fair processing systems, and very clear policies and enforcement, so you know where you stand every seconds of the day. And eBay has your back all the time. 4) Community: One really amazing, unique value proposition that sets us apart from our competitors is our community. We have a global community of likeminded businesses on the platform. And we are committed to that community. Pierre started one of the very first online communities when he started eBay and he wanted to provide and facilitate those connections with buyers and sellers with an exchange board, and that same community board runs today and is at the very core of who we are. We have multiple outreach and engagement programs, and we have a huge government relation, small business policy advocacy, who stand there up against the government. And we partnering with the government and advocating for the needs and the rights of our small businesses. We all know that through challenging times we all depend on those reliable sources of partnerships and eBay has been there 25 years and continues to be there for small businesses every step of the global pandemic that we’re all experiencing at the moment. 

In response to the global health crisis, eBay has responded with Up and Running an Accelerator Program designed to help small business without an ecommerce presence transition to selling online. The program has pledged up to US$100 million in support for small businesses and the spectrum of support includes all those things that we know small businesses need by transitioning their business online to eBay. We’re offering free three-month basic store subscription to allow you to set up shop online. We will cover your costs, you’re selling cost to running that business online, so you will pay no final value phase during the period that we’re running up and running which is until June 30th. You will have access to exclusive e-learning opportunities, including videos, podcasts, webinars, with our customer service and learning experts. We’ve got a unique Seller to Seller a Mentorship Program on our community because we know that sellers are the experts in selling and the most powerful part of eBay is our community of expert sellers. We’re connecting sellers that have been running their business successfully online with newer sellers who are looking to learn how to sell online plus plenty of commercial support. At the moment we’ve gone out with a major integrator above the line campaign where we are telling the world that small businesses are open on eBay and eBay (www.ebay.com) is the home of small businesses and we are showcasing and highlighting those small businesses that are succeeding on the platform much like Angie.

So, join us! If you’ve been putting it off, or you’re worried that you don’t know where to start. Take a leap of faith and do it now. Be where the buyers are. All it is, is four steps to growth: 1) Register: registering is free and quick. If you’ve been buying on the platform and ready, you will need to set up a business registration account. But again, that is a fairly easy process and you can do it on your PC, laptop, or mobile. Then once you register, you can brand your eBay shop front as you would your brick and mortar. 2) List: So, this is where the action comes in and this is the fun part. All it takes is a single item, all it took Pierre was that single item. Popped it on the website, listed it. We will take you through an easy listing process either again on your mobile or your PC. We will make recommendations, pricing guidance as well. We will also help make your items look the best with our free image cleanup feature in the eBay app. You don’t even need to worry about a special photography area in your room. Take a photo, snap it, and then we’ll remove the background, put it on a white background, and we’ll do the rest. We also have a number of different promotional tools to help you reach millions of buyers around the world. 3) Ship: Then, from there, once you’ve made that sale, all you need to do is shipping. And we have plenty of different options and programs that suit each individual business. We’ve got right calculate, is there to help manage your costs, we’ve got carrier discounts to help boost your profits and we have a global shipping program to help you access those buyers who are across the world. And as one of our unique selling propositions, we have a lot of protections to help keep your transactions and your business secure. And right now, with shipping changing, as we’re all adapting, there are plenty of options to either drop your items off with the post office, or have them collected right there in the security of your home. 4) Grow: Then, once you’ve got that item out the door, and you’re ready to grow your business, we offer a customized data dashboard called Seller Hub, which allows you to have unique data driven insights to power your business, analyze your performance, and get personalized growth recommendations. And we have Store Subscription that you get as part of the Up and Running Program. You get extended discounts, free shipping supplies, extra analysis tools, and a whole lot more, not to mention the incredible online community of like-minded sellers and businesses that are there to help you every step of the way to get you up and running, and get you what you need to be successful online. And we have plenty of learning resources. This is just a list of how the videos that we’ve created, podcasts, that we’re recording all the time, webinars, you will never feel like you’re alone. There is always plenty of resources to help you understand what you need to do next to succeed on the platform. But, do it by June 30, as we’re covering your costs. So just visit www.eBay.com/upandrunning. We look forward to meeting you there! Thank you. And now I’m going to hand it over to Angie to show you exactly how she’s managed to get her business up and running long ago, and keep it sustained all the way through the latest pandemic. 

eBay Seller Success Case – eWaste Direct

Angie Cardona-Nelson (eWaste Direct): First of all, I want to say thank you the California International Trade Center (www.cainternationaltrade.og), Global:SF (www.globalsf.biz) and eBay (www.ebay.com) for allowing me to come here and share my story with you guys. And so, I came to the United States about 18 years ago. I’m originally from Colombia, and I came to learn English and learn about the American culture. I fell in love with a man, that was not in my plans, but I fell in love with a man that now is my husband. In our days, we used to go to brick and mortar stores, will go to the clearance aisle, and then we’ll pick up something, and then come home and sell it, so I can make extra money to share with my family back home. And that’s pretty much my whole story as an eBay seller, eBay hobby out of it. 

A couple of years later, my husband and I started a company, an electronic recycling company, eWaste Direct, Inc (www.ewastedirect.com.) We are dreamers, we are intrapreneurs, just like you guys out there. And so, this was like the perfect opportunity for us as newlyweds to have a project, an adventure. And when we started picking up the items and selling, 80% of our revenue was coming from commodity values, like the copper, the aluminum, metals, etcetera, and 20% was just local sales, like garage sales. We went to the markets, we did just from local foot traffic, but it gets restricted. There is not so much that you can sell. Then, we wanted to be part of something bigger, being part of the circular economy, helping the environment, even more. So, we started really selling online. When we started doing that, our revenue percentage swap, 80% of our revenue came from our selling on eBay and 20% was from recycled value. So that is a huge number because now we’re diverting tons of electronics from the landfill, we’re extending the life of the items, but also that allowed us to hire people, expand our warehouse, just keep growing. We did start our company in 2008, like Darlene was saying 2008, the year of the recession. And here we are, 12 years later, is stronger than ever. 

We picked eBay as a distribution channel, because they pioneered on online marketplace that are trusted platform. They have the safeguards in place for the financial transactions, which makes us all very nervous. I know it did, that’s best. That was the scariest part, was all of the transactions that we didn’t understand how it took place and they took care of all that part. And they have tons of tools to help you with your success. Marketing tools, promotional tools, learning tools, and they’re always by your side. They have a government relations team in Washington D.C. that is always fighting and advocating for small businesses. They’re advocating for the ecommerce industry, on issues that matter like the shipping, the fair-trade sales taxes. You name it. I’ve been in Washington D.C, advocating for small businesses a couple of times already, blessing after being out to have been invited to the White House as well, advocating for small businesses. That has been such a great opportunity, because eBay is always looking after all of us. 

Now when he came to international sales, I was very reluctant to sell internationally because of my lack of knowledge. eBay has an eBay Global Shipping Program, so they have a hub in Kentucky. And what that means is that I still sell my items internationally, but I ship the items to Kentucky and eBay takes it from there and then they do all the paperwork that customs in all of the forms that I was so scared off. And once we started doing that, our revenue went 20% bigger. The average, 18 to 22% of our monthly sales are international sales. The great thing about the international sales is that you just never know, you have 170 million new customers right around the world. You can sell anything and everything, at any given time, when it’s winter in the United States is summer in Chile, and in Australia. The biggest item that I sold, the most expensive item that I sold, was an obsolete Apple server. Here in the United States, it had no market whatsoever, nobody was interested because technology was obsolete, yet we sold it to a company in Amsterdam. That was our biggest sale today. So, with that money, we were able to buy our first truck. There are customers everywhere in the world internationally, is just the best way to go. And if you understand everything about exporting, eBay is OK too. You don’t have to use the global shipping program if you know exactly what you’re doing. Being part of the marketplace is crucial for the success of our company. You’re always open. There are no borders, there are endless opportunities to grow. And because of that, I have been able to thrive in the recycling industry, which is traditionally a male dominated industry. And we went from garage sales to selling globally, having three tracks, having 14 full-time employees, having a huge warehouse, but most importantly, we’ve been able to hire women, single moms with no experience. I was able to train them to help me sell on eBay and they are a huge part of our success. If I could do this as a woman, as an immigrant so can you. You have all the tools, you’re not alone, you have to take advantage of all of the resources that the government is having available for you. Take advantage of the private sector resources. Just embrace technology, embrace change, and this is the perfect time to go online and to just have a very strong presence and just support each other, support small businesses and encourage each other. And I think that’s it.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): Thank you so much, Angie. I know yours is the American Dream, and we are so grateful that you’re continuing that dream, even in the current scenario. Thank you. And I know from eBay with their forward thinking in this space, we move to another ecommerce company that’s rising in everyone’s profile, which is Shopify. We’ve got Anisah Reeves-Winegan, who is an ecommerce specialist for Shopify, Los Angeles, where she provides business coaching and entrepreneurial development to merchants who want to get their products on Shopify. We also have Kenia Barba. Kenia is an ecommerce specialist for Shopify, LA, where she provides merchants one to one virtual appointments along with online workshops and events to help ecommerce businesses thrive. Also, with Shopify as a new seller we have Carina Santoyo is the owner of Ceremonia Shop (www.ceremoniashop.com). She has set up her shop on Shopify. Ceremonia is a brand inspired by her global travels with a background in wholesale and logistics and a personal interest in social entrepreneurship. Carina always envisioned starting an international business with positive social impact. Santoyo recently started her international business and has used Shopify to build her business online and around the world. Carina!

Shopify Seller Success Case – Ceremonia Shop

Carina Santoyo (Ceremonia Shop): First, I would like to thank the California International Trade Center – CITC and Global:SF for putting on this webinar that it’s been so informative and I loved hearing Angie story and hearing about a lot of the resources that are available are new to me. And now that I have the site up, I’m looking forward to delving into all these resources that are being provided. So, thank you for this wealth of information. And obviously I also want to thank Shopify because they thought of me to include me to be a part of this panel. 

To tell you a little bit about myself, as was already mentioned, my background has always been in wholesale, sales and logistics. I started from working as a customer service desk for wholesale accounts to doing some insights sells, to helping coordinate shipments mostly domestically. And I was working in an office for a very long time, and I’ve got a little bit stuck being inside an office. And what I realized was that what was missing for me was that component of really being passionate about the products that you’re selling, and also knowing that what you’re selling is giving back in some way or another. I ended up working for what was at that time my dream company, TOMS Shoes, a lot of you may have heard of it. They have a one third program, and they were the company that really revolutionized giving back and doing it in a really meaningful way. While I was working there, I learned a lot. I had the opportunity to work with really creative and amazing people, full of wonderful ideas, But I did get a little print out, because it was startup culture. I ended up quitting in 2014 to travel, and I hoped that these travels would give me that inspiration to really see through it and find my own business and find my own passions. And give back in a way that was meaningful to me. 

I quit in 2014, and I traveled through south-east Asia. If you haven’t been, I definitely recommend going to south-east Asia. It’s just such a beautiful, magical place, and one of my final stops during that trip was in Bali, where I ended up spending about a month. And I had the opportunity to do lots of different artisanal workshops. And while they are also bought tons of gifts for my friends and family, because it was one of my final stops. I was going to have room to bring it back home. And those connections, that I built way back in 2014, really is what sparked it all for me, when I got back home and handed out all those gifts. Seeing the excitement from friends and family, I realized, like this could be by business. I could potentially have these beautiful handcrafted products made using sustainable materials and provide beautiful pieces while also employing these local artists and families that I’ve met. That’s really how it all started in. A few years later, I ended up moving to Bali, and that’s what helped me for meaningful relationships with the artisans and just have more creative input with some of the designs and things that are being made. And slowly, it’s just been growing at the collection has grown from initially only a few little gift items and skincare products to now we have an extensive collection of home goods and accessories and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been great. And what I love about it is all the relationships that I’ve been building along the way with the artisans that we employ. And, throughout the process. I’ve also had the opportunity to returned back home. I’m originally from LA, and so we’ve had tons of pop-ups here. We even go on to New York. We’ve gone to Orange County; San Diego and we built a little following that way. And the question that we always got asked was, when are you going to have the website? But of course, living in Bali at the last few years made it challenging to start a website, because I wasn’t planning on shipping from Bali. I wanted to shift from within the United States, to make it a little easier for me, but at the same time, I wasn’t base here, so that was a challenge. 

Well, now that COVID-19 happened, I had to just come back to the United States and hunker down. And, the last six weeks have been just working on the website, and that’s how I got introduced to Kenia was through all their expertise and guidance throughout this process. If you’re starting business, thinking about going online, I would definitely recommend Shopify considering it as a platform, because the resources that they provide and whether it’s through guru training, and one on ones, or through the actual chat, support chat. They’ve all been very helpful to me. I really appreciate all the guidance that I’ve had throughout this process because building a website, it’s not always easy, but they made it as easy as possible. I really appreciate all that guidance that they let me along the way. And now the site is finally up: www.ceremoniashop.com. It’s launched and one of the things that’s really helped us is being able to still engage with our online community that we’ve already built and then driving them from being used to seeing is that pop-ups or shopping on Instagram to now having a place where they can shop. That’s a little bit about our story, our background, and where we are now. Our next step now is going international, so this webinar that you put on is very helpful. I appreciate it.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): Thank you! Anisah. 

Shopify Services and Resources for Businesses

Anisah Reeves-Winegan (Shopify): Perfect! Thank you so much. I do want to just kind a give a little highlight of Carina’s business, Ceremonia Shop and the beautiful items that she has. Shopify is an ecommerce platform, that powers online storefronts, as well as brick and mortars, our 24/7 support, as Carina mentioned, is something that we pride ourselves in. And we really stay with you from first sale to full-scale. Shopify is constantly innovating and improving the platform to best serve our merchants. 

With the current pandemic is especially crucial that we find ways to solve the new needs of our users. We’ve implemented quite a few new features and are working on adding more. As we can see here, we have the 90-day trial, gifts cards, which are now available on every plan, local pickup option so, if you are running a brick and mortar, finding more ways to have those no contacts pickups, online tipping and we’ve now just recently introduced Shopify e-mail. We’ve also increased our capital funding for users that do qualify. If you’re not aware, Google Shopping is also offering free ad space, which is huge. So definitely take advantage of that if you are on the Shopify platform. We also have a Facebook Shop, which is connected to Shopify’s online sales channel. Shop Pay, which is a new way to integrate finding new Shopify merchants while you’re shopping on another Shopify site. And then also Community Tools. We always want to highlight that finding forums, Facebook business groups, and finding likeminded people to share experiences to learn more. 

Starting your 90-day free trial is super easy. I’ll show you right on the homepage where it’s at. It’s going to be that start free trial and right now, we’ve actually increased our 90-day free trial for 14 days to 90 days, so that you have tons of time to get familiar with the platform before going live, and really kind of following those steps by steps to get ready for launch. We’re also introducing Digital Gift Cards. Once you launch your store, you can now offer those. Previously, this feature was only available on our higher plan tears, but we’ve made it available for every Shopify merchants. You can set up e-gift cards in just a few minutes and offer your shoppers a new easy way to support your business. Local Pickup, as mentioned, if you are a brick and mortar, you can easily set up a buy online pick up in store, which will become a toggle of either delivery or local pickup. And this is a great way to reconnect with your local clientele and avoid the complication of shipping too. We’re also offering Online Tipping, which is really huge, especially for restaurant tiers. If customers want to add a tip and support, they can easily do that during the checkout process. Tipping is also great if used in combination with the local pickup feature. We have Shopify Email, which I am super excited to launch. We have beautiful pre-made templates and blank templates that you can build yourself. You also want to promote all these new features you’re offering. And e-mail marketing still remains one of the top converting sales channels. You never really want to sleep on its impact and no need to use a third party or spend hours of designing an e-mail just focused on the content and send it to your subscribers. We also have Shopify Capital. We’re also increasing working to offer more funding to our merchants that qualify, as mentioned. Shopify Capital allows you to access funding and return the funding as a percentage of your sales with payments that flex to fit your business. So, thank you so much. And now we’re going to go over some more resources with Kenia.

Kenia Barba (Shopify): Thanks, Anisah. Not only has Shopify released all of these amazing features in house, we’re also partnering with other commerce and social media giants to make it easier for buyers to discover Shopify merchants and people who are just getting on the platform. Last month, we teamed up with Google to offer Free Google Shopping listings. Google Shopping’s just a visual art form that makes it easier for shoppers to discover new products and brands through a simple search. So, if someone searches for shoes, Google now makes it free for your products to appear on that search. We’re also teaming up with Facebook to Power Facebook Shops. Facebook Shops are just mobile first customizable online storefronts for Facebook, Instagram. WhatsApp, any other platform owned by Facebook. This basically allows merchants to offer for free and grow their organic traffic and sales. This will be powered from Shopify through a new Facebook channel, which will unify all of our sales and marketing tools for Facebook’s ecosystem in one handy place. We’ve also released our own internal app called Shop App. It’s kind of a two-prong tool, so it’s an app that makes the checkout flow for Shopify buyers easier. It stores all of their payment and shipping information in one place. It just makes it more streamlined. Also, makes it a way for buyers within the Shop App to discover other Shopify merchants. So, kind of like a marketplace, but just with more control.

We also have an existing sales channel. So, we partner with eBay, Amazon, Pinterest, and WANELO, to make it easier for merchants on Shopify to cross promote their products and reach a wider audience. We’re also offering new ways for merchants to learn and grow on their own time. We have Live Webinars that are hosted every single day on various topics. The live setting really allows merchants to really learn and get answers in real-time from Shopify employees, connect with other merchants who are in their same boat and just really feel a sense of community. We have webinars, everything from getting started from Shopify, from ground zero, how to set up local delivery options, how to run Facebook ads, and so much more. I work out of the Shopify LA space. Shopify LA is geared for local merchants. We offer one-on-one workshops, webinars. We also recently released Entrepreneur Hangouts. It’s just a community hangout that’s facilitated by a Shopify LA employee. You basically just talk to other merchants about your new shoes, get advice from them. Really, just feel, again sense of community, which is so important, especially now that we can’t physically connect with people. Just having another avenue to reconnect with people who are in the same boat as you have really helped. We’ve gotten great feedback from that. We also have Shopify Compass. It’s an educational tool that’s fully customized to your personal business journey. So, whether you’re just getting started with ecommerce, or you’ve been doing it for years, and really just want to take it to the next level, Compass, offers personalized lessons based on where you are to grow your business. You can also join different Forums and Discussion Groups on Shopify or Facebook. Again, just to grow your communities. Find that niche, really connect with people who are in your industry, your various stages of business. It really just helps us validate that there are others in the similar places as you and like-minded. This can be a great support system. The great thing about Shopify, my personal favorite is just tons of Resources. You’re not dependent on a guru support, phone call. You have the resources available to find what you’re looking for, just on your own. Whether it’s our Shopify Help Center at https://help.shopify.com/en. As we mentioned, we have great blog posts on different articles. We have an awesome YouTube channel, LinkedIn page. Shopify LA has great specific resources. And if you’re interested in all of the new features that we put out, you can go to our covert response page, www.shopify.com/covid19. And there’s tons of great resources to get you started. Our motto is to “make commerce better for everyone” whether you’re a traditional brick and mortar, whether you’re fully ecommerce or you’re a mix of both, we’re here to provide you with the tools that you need to really grow your business.

International Trade Resources for Businesses

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): Awesome. That’s so helpful. Kenia, thank you so much. This is wonderful. Thank you both. I know we’ve gotten a series of questions. Leah and Darlene, if you want to come back on. We have gotten a few questions regarding restaurant options and how to move businesses online if you’re a restaurant. I’m going to share some of the resources that Anisah was able to send through, so that can help with the Shopify resources. Anisah, the other question that we’ve gotten, and I just want to get a chance to address it if you can come back online is, there’s a question regarding services and weather services are something that Shopify helps with?

Anisah Reeves-Winegan (Shopify): Offering services such as Pilates Instruction that is one of the specific questions. If you do visit our LA Shopify landing page (https://la.shopify.com/), I would definitely consider booking a one-on-one with one of our gurus so that way we can kind a talk about your particular model. Yes, it’s possible. But there are some different workarounds, a lot of app plugins that you may need to use as far as, like, booking and things like that. I would love to help that person just like, go into their niche and how we could set that up about Shopify, but, in short, it is possible.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): Perfect. Thank you so much, Anisah. I know we also got a couple of questions and comments. We appreciate the comment from one of the participants. Actually, you cannot sell everything. You must be in compliance with U.S. export regulations. And we agree, which is why we’re bringing together all the public and private resources because we know that it can be difficult, as a seller, to navigate that. Maybe Shopify and eBay can address anything they do to help, and then we can have our government regulations address who to answer any questions, if there are questions about exports. Liz, do you have anything on Shopify or eBay? Obviously, we are all in agreement that everyone has to be in compliance with U.S. export regulations. 

Liz Austin (eBay): The way that it can be very with everything you can and can’t sell on the site, that’s on our help pages. I can put a link in place the call as to the exact page, where all of those items are very clear out there.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): That’s fantastic. If you have anything to add, otherwise, I know that we have a lot of government representatives who can address any of those questions. I also see that we’ve got a question. If I am based overseas, can I still use Shopify to sell my items?

Anisah Reeves-Winegan (Shopify): Yes. You can. There are going to be some different payment gateways and once again, some ways that we have to work around, but we have a lot of resources available for overseas sellers.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): OK, great, thank you. We have another, Peter Freeman thank you for your questions. Can you discuss the potential for so-called pink bonds for women-oriented businesses? And further, can you discuss the relationship with the Asian Development Bank? Darlene, that was, I think, specifically addressed to you.

Darlene Chiu (Global:SF): I don’t know, unfortunately, much about the pink bonds, I will promise to look into it and get back to you, Peter. But what I can say about Asian Development Bank is that we are not related to them in any way. However, what we do have is, through our Asia initiative, we work very closely with the local governments, the import, and export, or the enterprise agencies for example, Indonesia, for Singapore, for Thailand. And we work with those agencies to see what resources is available to companies who want to import or export to, to or from their countries. We do have those resources available.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): That’s great. And I’ll circle back just to make sure we give a chance for any or maybe Julianne or Diana to address if there are questions about what they are able to export. Julianne, is that something you might be able to address?

Julianne Hennessy (U.S. Commercial Services): Yes, it’s the Bureau of Industry and Security (www.bis.doc.gov.) The BIS is the is the U.S. Government organization that administers the export regulations, export licensing regulations. They have lots of seminars and online courses that you can review online learning that you can review about the Export Administration Regulations, but happy to guide anybody in that direction.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): That’s wonderful. Thank you, Julianne. I know we’re just going to answer a couple more questions, because I know that we will continue this follow up online, and we very much look forward to that. There are some questions and I believe I’m trying to figure out if I can get Diana. I know she was on audio but we will share websites. There is a question about applying for the small loan from the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and I believe that’s regarding the STEP grant. Leah, maybe we can share that in the chat the specific link to this STEP grant. I believe it’s also on the handout. Just as a reminder, you are able to go to the handout tab. It’s a downloadable PDF, and it has links to a number of different resources. There’s also a question regarding any of those that are overseas. Any of those products that are overseas are their import duties when item is sold to U.S. consumers and does Shopify help navigate the customs duty issues? Anisah, I don’t know if you can address that here if we can do that afterwards. And there’s another question, how to apply for an eBay seller, Kenia? 

Kenia Barba (Shopify): OK, yes, I can help with that. We do have fields within your backend on the products for you can add custom codes or HS codes in terms of complying with those laws. The great thing about Shopify is that we’re just the platform, everything else is in the hands of the merchants, so it’s really up to you how much or how little you want to input into the product. If you have the customs code, you can go ahead and do that. However, we do always recommend if you have that and are planning to ship internationally, to definitely do the research and add that in. It could just lead to like issues with your buyer. If it takes forever for their product to get through where it gets stuck in customs. And we always want to make sure to provide the best experience.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): That’s helpful. It does seem like making sure that you double check and reach out to any agency that can help. There’s a question also on how to apply for an eBay seller. I don’t know if Liz can address that. 

Liz Austin (eBay): Yes. It’s easy. Just go to www.ebay.com/upandrunning and all of the step by step directions are there but essentially once you register as a business. If you’ve been buying on eBay, you will need to register yourself as a business. Go and register yourself as a business. Either go Download the app, go online www.ebay.com and you’ll see register there. And then once you register, we will before June 30 give you a whole lot of free listings, to start listing. And then we’ll send you an e-mail that will allow you to opt you into the free store as well. We will help you each step of the way.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): Great. That’s very helpful. Michael, I believe we’ve got your question. Does anyone have a service for companies on their platform and make a commission per unit sold? If you can expand on that question, it may be one we can follow up on afterwards. But I think it may be helpful for a little bit more information on that question. 

I know everyone who participated in this today is so excited. We are really looking forward to helping small businesses thrive. Both Shopify and eBay brought all their resources to the table and want to bring them to you, as well as U.S. Commercial Services, which is right here in Los Angeles. We have Julianne, I know, still who can address any questions that you have, as well as Diana from GO-Biz, the Governor’s Office. Leah and Darlene, thank you so much for putting this together. I know that you are a wealth of information and both of you have committed to following up with everyone online afterwards. So, any of the expansion, any further follow up, which I see, Michael, you are going to follow up with us later. We will make sure to get those questions. We are very grateful for your time, and I’ll pass it over to Darlene and Leah to wrap us up if that works.

Leah Goold-Haws (CITC): I just want to say to everyone, thank you so much. It has been a tremendous opportunity. eBay and Shopify are two perfect examples of a great way for small business to break into global markets. Darlene and I are here as strong partners to proceed in offering more content around this subject, Women in Business Growing Global. So please look for upcoming series at www.cainternationaltrade.org/webseries, our website, where we will host all of today’s content. And with that, I’ll pass it over to you Darlene for any final notes. 

Darlene Chiu (Global:SF): Yes. Thank you so much Leah. Again, it’s always a pleasure to partner with you. And I look forward to an ongoing series. Again, everyone Global:SF through our initiatives as of SF:Asia, Latin:SF and China:SF, we are providing services to everyone who wants to start a global business, free of charge. Visit us at www.globalsf.biz. We do have upcoming delegations that we’re planning, some of them are virtual. We are working with actually the country of Israel as well as the country of Japan at the moment. Looking at not only the fall, but definitely in the Spring of 2021. Please contact us. We do have resources. We actually have, as I recall someone talking about payments earlier, and we do have a webinar on our website, actually available. Again, we’re here to work with you, Leah, the Chancellor’s Office, we’re all here to help you. Please, think about going global. This is the time to do it, what better time to consider. And, again, thank you, Johanna, for being a perfect moderator for today. 

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): No, thank you to all. I think we all know that we believe in solving problems, wherever they exist around the world and making sure that California businesses can monetize that. So, thank you for prioritizing it. Leah, last words.

Leah Goold-Haws (CITC): Thanks to all of the partners, Johanna, facilitating the conversation, Julianne and Diana, obviously. And to our audience, we are here to help you. We’re real people. These are real assets that your taxpayer dollars, in part, have done to making available to you. So, please take advantage of the support, because we really want to see you succeed. Thank you so much for attending today.

Johanna Maska (Global Situation Room): Absolutely. We will have all of the follow up online (www.cainternationaltrade.org) Thank you all for joining us.