E-Commerce and The Black Entrepreneur

"A routine scroll down your Instagram timeline more than likely reveal a few online businesses that have piqued your interest. At its core, the term e-commerce refers to the purchase and sale of goods and/or services through an electronic channel."

Now more than ever, people of color are actively looking for ways to become more financially independent and to empower our communities. Entrepreneurs are increasingly utilizing e-commerce to build brands and create niches in the global marketplace.

A routine scroll down your Instagram timeline more than likely reveal a few online businesses that have piqued your interest. At its core, the term e-commerce refers to the purchase and sale of goods and/or services through an electronic channel.

As noted by The Atlantic in 2016, Black buying power was expected to reach $1.2 trillion last year, and it is expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. This combined spending power makes Black America the 15th largest economy in terms of gross domestic product. Sidenote: Gross domestic product is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific period of time. Essentially, it demonstrates the size of the economy. One of the two ways economists measure GDP is by adding up what everyone spent, in our case, economists have measured what Black Americans have spent.

Black millennials no longer need brick and mortar locations. Through e-commerce, entrepreneurs have the unique opportunity to participate in the global marketplace by simply using your smartphone more wisely. The more black millennials commit to entrepreneurship, the more effective our community will be with harnessing the spending power of the black community.

“Black millennials no longer need brick and mortar locations. Through e-commerce, entrepreneurs have the unique opportunity to participate in the global marketplace by simply using your smartphone more wisely.”

As entrepreneurs are continually using technology to grow their business, I wanted to touch base with a Millennial entrepreneur to share some jewels from experiences in e-commerce.

Maria Lloyd is the founder of Management 24. The agency seeks to help clients reach their full potential by providing top-notch customer service, staying abreast of innovative trends in the industry, and producing results that are aligned with establishing goals.

There is a myriad of products and services a business could offer. Talking about the most effective way to determine your product or service Lloyd said that she determined what products and services to sell by studying Nielsen and Pew studies on her ideal customer, and she tailored her advertising and messaging to their pain points and interests.

Beyond the dilemma of what product or service to offer, you also may find that it is difficult to commit and execute your action plan for your business. As a fellow Millennial, Lloyd advised that entrepreneurs study the practices of your favorite online stores. Management 24 Founder, Maria Lloyd suggests that you reflect and ask yourself probing questions, such as “What do they do that draws your attention to them? How do they make your shopping experience online pleasure? What drives you to shop there as opposed to somewhere else?” Lloyd also advises that you continually educate yourself about the industry.

Remember, you are a part of larger entrepreneur community. Talking about the power of connectivity, Management 24 Founder also recommended that anyone who is interested in e-commerce harness the power of relationships. She feels it is much easier to generate a consistent stream of income from your e-commerce business if you have partners with whom you can share an audience.

Use social media, don’t let it use you. Black Millennials can become more involved and better capitalize in e-commerce by using social media for more than socializing about pop culture, politics and current events. For example,  aspiring entrepreneurs may want to join Facebook groups that are centered around a specific topic or interest. Lloyd notes that she has earned quite a bit of money by networking with people in paid and unpaid groups on Facebook.

The role e-commerce could play a significant role in empowering communities of color. Typically, Black unemployment is typically twice as high as white unemployment. According to the Atlanta Black Star, the $1.1 trillion in Black spending power could create 12.2 million jobs in the black community. E-commerce has the power to empower more financially independent entrepreneurs in the black community. As long as you deliver a quality product or service paired with top-notch customer service, e-commerce empowers the black entrepreneur and helps to liberate the black community as a whole.

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André Cotten is a native Mississippian. He is currently an attorney based in Washington, DC. HIs current legal practice focuses on advising financial institutions on regulatory compliance issues.

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