This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

Since BizLaunch’s inception 20 years ago, we’ve hosted numerous workshops to educate small business owners about the tools and resources available to help them take their business online. While many have launched an online marketplace, some have felt that they’ve been in business long enough and that their customers know who they are or haven’t seen the need to develop an online presence until recently.

Since the abrupt shift in consumer behavior that started with the shutdown orders last March, it’s becoming clear that many of these new trends are here to stay. A recent survey from McKinsey & Co. found that three out of four consumers have tried a new shopping method within the last year. Nearly 70% of consumers surveyed intend to continue buying online for store pickup.

Before 2020, much of the growth of e-commerce was driven by millennial consumers and early adopters. Now with many baby boomers at higher risk for developing complications from contracting COVID-19, they are embracing online shopping. Between January and October of 2020, consumers 65 and older spent on average $1,615 online, a 49% increase from the previous year, according to The Washington Post. National brands are taking note, expanding customer support, educating customers how to shop online, and making their platforms more accessible and intuitive to cater to baby boomers.

In developing programming to support small businesses dealing with the ongoing public health emergency, the BizLaunch team was mindful of the need for capital but that the amount available wouldn’t be very impactful to the majority of businesses. From there, ReLaunch was born, a new initiative from BizLaunch in partnership with Amazon Web Services and additional partners to provide in-depth technical assistance, financial assistance to build out a website and an e-commerce platform, and numerous free resources.

Our first program in a four-part series, held last week, gave an overview of the program along with free technology consultations. On Feb. 18, Amazon Web Services, Amazon Business and Nub8 will discuss how small businesses can utilize Lightsail to build a website and e-commerce platform and to sell through Amazon.com.

Additional information about ReLaunch, including how to leverage the resources outlined for your small business, is available at www.relaunch.business. Stay up to date with us by signing up for our e-newsletter or following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now TikTok.

Si está interesado en aprender más acerca de los nuevos recursos disponibles que tiene BizLaunch para apoyar su negocio por favor visite la página web www.relaunch.business. Adicional a ello si desea recibir información sobre diferentes iniciativas y recursos ofrecidos para su negocio suscríbase a nuestro boletín electrónico.

@aedbizlaunchAre you looking for FREE technical services? Click the link in our bio to get exactly that. #voiceeffects #arlingtonva #fyp #smallbusiness #ReLaunch♬ original sound – Josh Lepulu

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