This blog post originally appeared on the Virginia Main Street Blog on May 28, 2020
In the past few months, shopping behaviors have radically shifted amid the public health situation. Numerous industries have witnessed unprecedented loss while e-Commerce sales have risen by more than 8%. As a result of the pandemic, the need for small businesses to embrace social media and online sales has never been more important. Acknowledging such realities, Danville’s River District Association (RDA), a proud Virginia Main Street (VMS) program, has launched an initiative to help merchants thrive within our “new” marketplace.
RDA’s e-Commerce Renovation Program will cover the cost for business owners to take advantage of a suite of exciting workshops through a website learning lab designed to help small businesses build and/or improve their online presence to support revenue streams and attract new customers. In addition to the standard learning lab curriculum, RDA will also cover the costs of hosting new websites for a full year, organize a professional photo shoot and offer a special training session, focused on capturing high-quality images through use of a mobile phone.
“We recognize the shift that our small businesses have to make – in a very short period of time – to have an online presence and e-commerce where applicable. The program will help our downtown businesses not only reimagine how they can do business virtually, it will teach them how to do it and provide needed funding. We are extremely grateful for our ongoing partnerships with the city of Danville, Letterpress Communications and all involved to ensure the program’s timely creation to help small businesses.” – Diana Schwartz, Executive Director, RDA
The website learning lab will be hosted by Letterpress Communications, in partnership with Danville-based firms Business Cannon and Rivertown. Building worthwhile websites alongside other downtown business owners, participants will attend weekly classes and receive one-on-one support during the course, along with troubleshooting assistance after launch, if needed. Business owners will also receive guidance on incorporating polished written content and images, as well as crafting a brand and creating a website promotion plan.
“Building a website is about more than just the website. It is about the brand, marketing strategy and sales goals. This class represents a unique hybrid, and we are pleased to partner with Rivertown and Business Cannon to provide one-on-one, local coaching for participants.” – Ilsa Loeser, Principal, Letterpress Communications
The layers of support provided to Danville businesses continues to inspire, and RDA’s e-Commerce Renovation Program creates yet another opportunity for businesses to expand their reach. The program echoes the resounding belief shared amongst Main Street communities and localities across the state, signifying that “we are in this together.”