eBay Canada is launching an accelerator program called Up & Running aimed at supporting retailers without an e-commerce presence transitioning to selling online in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company recently announced.

The program provides financial relief and resources to support small businesses by waiving selling fees through June 20 (up to 500 sales) and offering a free basic store for a three-month period to assist businesses with cash flow.

While 61 per cent of Canadians bought online last year, as recently as 2017, almost half of all Canadian small and medium-sized businesses did not have a website, or had minimal e-commerce capabilities. eBay Canada said in the press release that it believes there is an urgent need to help bring retailers online. 

“The majority of eBay Canada sellers are small businesses from across the country. They embody what it means to stay local and sell global,” explained Rob Bigler, general manager of eBay Canada. “Up & Running reflects our sense of responsibility and a commitment to retailers whose physical stores are temporarily closed and who lack an international e-commerce channel. We are putting every resource into making it simple and cost-effective for them to quickly set up on eBay and resume selling.”

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business‘s member surveys about the impact of the global pandemic, 62 per cent of businesses would not be able to quickly shift more than 10 per cent of sales to online or telephone options, and 42 per cent are worried about having to close their business permanently. The average cost of COVID-19 on small businesses so far is approximately $215,000, the survey indicates.


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The Up & Running program will also help existing online businesses create a channel to reach millions of customers worldwide by providing them access to eBay’s 180+ million buyers around the world. Other benefits include a $35 coupon for eBay branded shipping supplies, and powerful selling tools and insights. In addition, eBay Canada said it is also highlighting small business sellers on its website to make it easier for Canadian shoppers to support local retailers.

This initiative builds on an established eBay curriculum, Retail Revival, which was adopted in cities worldwide, including Halifax, Nova Scotia, and saw participants increase sales and international exports through the platform.

“We specialize in marine and boating supplies. With help from eBay Canada, in one year, we’ve grown our customer base from serving mostly Canada to accessing the huge U.S. market,” says Eric Dempsey, e-commerce manager of The Binnacle and Retail Revival Halifax. “Our ability to sell online during the pandemic has been a lifeline. In the past 30-days, we’ve seen our eBay sales increase 60 per cent compared to the month prior.”


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