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Meeting more customers virtually: Class series focuses on creating e-commerce capabilities for businesses

Written by Sharla Bardin for 19th St. Magazine, September 2020

 

Moore Norman Technology Center is providing a series of classes to educate, encourage and equip business owners and entrepreneurs who are venturing into e-commerce.

The center is offering a combination of online classes to help individuals learn such topics as creating a website, adding features to begin selling products on the site, digital marketing techniques and online business strategies.

A goal with the series “is to make it as easy as possible for business owners to be able to sell online,” said Gina

Bertoletti, business development coordinator. E-commerce is especially a need for businesses now given economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent survey among businesses participating in the Oklahoma Main Street program – which helps communities improve their historic central and neighborhood business district areas – showed the toll that the pandemic has had so far on businesses and the importance of online sales capabilities.

Brent Kisling, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, said in a news release that the survey spotlighted “the need for all small businesses to have an e-commerce presence in order to better withstand disasters.”

The survey also showed that an online presence appeared to play a significant role in the severity of the disruption to businesses. Restaurants and retail with the ability to sell online reported a 49 percent decrease in sales, while those without e-commerce availability showed a 67 percent loss.

Bertoletti said the center wanted to offer a series of classes to meet business owners wherever their need might be to achieve e-commerce, whether it’s creating a website or incorporating digital marketing.

The series includes a free “Build a Website with WordPress” course that gives individuals the chance to create a website using WordPress, a popular website builder. From there, individuals can further those skills through other courses in the series – which are “Advanced Techniques using WooCommerce,” which will focus on adding more features and extensions to the website; “E-commerce Quick Start” and “Adventures in E-commerce Digital Marketing.”

Each course is $99 and individuals can receive a 10 percent discount if they sign up for more than one paid class.

Bertoletti said the classes will feature live instruction, and students will have “links to a goldmine of resources to all of these classes.”

There also will be a Facebook group for participants to allow for increased interaction and assistance among one another and with their instructors.  

Bertoletti said an overall goal is to help individuals set up e-commerce capabilities for their companies that can help them thrive and be better equipped to handle challenging economic situations.

“We’re going to do whatever we can to help these businesses,” she said.

For more information or to register for the e-commerce series, visit www.mntc.edu.

For more information on the survey among businesses with the Oklahoma Main Street program or COVID-19 business resources, visit www.okcommerce.gov.