Halloween spirit in Old Town - Photo Dave Trumpie <span class='image-credits'></span>

How Lansing is growing with eBay's Retail Revival Program

So what exactly is retail revival, and what does it mean for Lansing businesses? Well, eBay is one of the godfathers of online sales, and Lansing is chock-full of small businesses that are doing well locally, but could do even better given a chance to reach a wider market. Which is exactly what the retail revival program is all about. To use eBay's terminology, "Retail Revival harnesses the power of technology and eBay’s global marketplace to support and grow small businesses, strengthen local economies and foster vibrant community growth."

Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people. - Steve Jobs

The program was launched earlier this year in Akron, Ohio, where they've seen significant benefits in recent months as a result. So what made Lansing so lucky as to be chosen as the second city to host eBay's exciting new platform for global online business growth? "We went through a rigorous selection process." explained Chris Librie, Senior Director of Global Impact & Giving at eBay.

"First we looked at local economies, population size, density of small business owners and retail environment of select cities across the U.S. Once we narrowed down our list, we held calls with city officials and conducted site visits. Lansing stood out to us because of the city and Mayor’s clear commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, strong community of makers, and small business owners."

It's a testament to Lansing's growing economy, and the dedication of it's business owners and city officials, that we were such an obvious choice for eBay. And it comes as no surprise that local business owners are so excited about what lies in store for them. As Michelle Rahl, Vice President of Business Development at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce points out, this platform will usher in chances for growth that will positively impact the whole city.

“We're tremendously excited to be a part of this project to help Greater Lansing businesses connect, grow and thrive using eBay’s powerful platform to market their business around the world." Rahl points out. "Our mission is to support our members and the business community to help them grow. Retail Revival will be an important tool to help us do that.”

There is always space for improvement, no matter how long you've been in the business. - Oscar De La Hoya

So how does it all work? It started with a call that went out months ago, asking local business owners to apply to participate in the program. More than 50 businesses were selected, and then the platform rolled out with a kickoff in September. Participating business owners participated in comprehensive training sessions that covered a variety of best practices and strategies for eBay sellers. 

"Moving forward, our Retail Revival businesses will receive additional support and resources, including further training on how to boost business, a dedicated customer service support team and a complimentary eBay store subscription." Librie says. 
Entrepreneurs encounter so many obstacles and pitfalls on the road to success these days. With ever-evolving technologies making it harder for small business owners to keep up, and a rapidly growing global market that can make 'being heard' a major challenge for the little guy, having access to a carefully designed set of tools, can make all the difference for a small business owner in today's world. Which is where eBay comes in.

"For more than two decades, eBay has played a central role in creating an accessible channel of commerce that enables anyone, virtually anywhere, to participate in the global economy." Librie explains. "We’ve seen the power eBay has to transform businesses -- and lives. We wanted to find a way to help small businesses in Lansing by giving them additional tools and resources to grow locally by selling globally."

Great companies are built on great products. - Elon Musk

There are over fifty businesses around Lansing that have signed up to participate in the Retail Revival, and they're all excited to reap the rewards of this program. Amy Hill McMeeken, the owner of Vintage Junkies in the REO Town Marketplace, says she's been selling on eBay for seven years but this will be a game changer. 

"They provided us with a premium store for free for a year, and also taught us a number of new tricks that are already working!" she says. "I've already seen increased sales, and I expect that to keep growing over the next year."

Amanda Defrees, co-owner of the 517 Coffee Company agrees. "We've had a website for a while, and we do some online sales, but that's mostly in and around Michigan." eBay will open a whole new world when it comes to reaching customers around the globe. "We're still in the process of setting up our eBay store," she explains, "So we haven't seen much in sales yet, but we're really excited to get rolling on that! This is always a crazy time of year because we're wrapping up our farmer's market season."

"We're home grown and love Lansing," Defrees explains, "so our community will always be our primary focus for business and engagement. However this program is an exciting compliment to what we're already doing, and will help us reach a larger audience in the future."

A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all. - Michael LeBoeuf

So what exactly does the Capital city stand to gain from all this, now that the program is up and running? A lot, according to Librie. "Near term, our goal is to give Lansing businesses the knowledge and tools to feel comfortable navigating the eBay platform and selling online. But in the big picture, our goal is for Lansing sellers to expand their businesses to a global customer base and see an increase in their online sales."

"We've been really encouraged by the results we've seen in Akron, Ohio so far," Librie adds. "In just six months, the sellers in the program there have made nearly 8,000 sales to customers in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. While every city is different, we’re excited about the businesses participating in the Lansing program and look forward to seeing their success." 

So if you're looking for unique and creative Christmas gifts in the next couple of months as we count down to gift giving season, remember to shop local whenever possible. Whether it's fresh roasted coffee, a hand crafted clay mug, a vintage brooch, or a cool piece of art, small business owners all over the city of Lansing are ready to offer you a fabulous selection to choose from, whether you shop in person or online.
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