It's Time to Go Digital
Digital Transformation Grant - eligible downtown or main street businesses can receive up to $2500 to invest in digital marketing, website upgrades, e-commerce, and more.
ShopHERE - start selling online with Shopify through Digital Main Street's ShopHERE program. You'll receive a fully functional, custom-designed Shopify website and store, and receive training on managing and marketing your new e-commerce platform. Retail, services, artists, home-based businesses and non-profits are eligible.
Promote your business locally for free on LoveKingston.ca
There are many ways to sell your products and service online. Strategies for how to get started will vary based on your industry and products. The best way to get started is to start, however that looks for your business.
We’ve listed some resources below to help get you started, and invite you to call on us for advice as you need it. We’re here for you Kingston. Please contact our Digital Business Advisor, Chris Morris for a free virtual consultation to help you get started with website, social media, e-commerce, digital marketing, and more.
If you are looking to build an e-commerce site, there are a number of resources available:
- Shopify is offering free 90-day trials, local pickup and delivery options, the ability to sell gift cards, and 24/7 support to help you at anytime. Check out the step-by-step guide to creating a simple Shopify store where customers can buy online and pickup curbside.
- Carissa Cosgrove, the Local Community Manager for Shopify in Kingston is offering support, training and 1:1 appointments to help get you set up. Head to Shopify Kingston to learn more and sign up for events and email updates.
Some things to consider before getting started
For Existing Businesses:
- Your capacity to ship at a competitive rate, or your ability to offer local pickup or delivery.
- Will you still be doing e-commerce when regular business resumes. If so, how will your e-commerce integrate with your physical location?
- If you are an existing Shopify merchant, learn how to add curbside pickup. There is also a quick video about this service.
- Learn more about what Shopify is doing to help their merchants navigate the effects of COVID-19.
- 1dea is offering a full e-commerce design and build for $1000.
- Distantly allows locals to support your business from a distance.
- Tazwiz with a business model that supports entrepreneurs & SME’s by connecting them to local students and professionals to complete tasked-based work. After its initial fund raise, Tazwiz has further offered to set aside $500 in Tazwiz credits for a Kingston company, up to 125 companies located in Kingston.
- SupportSME platform targets all small and medium businesses including restaurants, spas, beauty salons, barber’s shops, dental offices, physiotherapy/massage clinics, fitness centers, shops, and arts and entertainment venues that are directly or indirectly dependent on free movement of buyers arriving in‐person to physical business locations. The platform provides a “natural” community-based financing solution to help businesses meet their liquidity and operating expense requirements by channeling immediately available cash funds from buyers who are willing to support their favorite service providers now in lieu of the services delivered later.
- The Recovery Activation Program (RAP) is an immersive, highly practical online program designed to enable your business’ digital transformation and catalyze scalable opportunities for growth through a series of seminars, workshops, and one-on-one mentorship with industry experts at no cost.
For New Businesses:
- Once you’ve picked a business name, check to see that the domain and social media handles you would like to use are available. Consider securing these as soon as possible even if you’re not going to use them right away.
- Register your business name.
- Are your prospective suppliers able to provide you with goods over the next few months?
- Are you able to deliver or ship at a competitive rate?
For help getting your business started, our small business team is here to help.
Build Your Digital Presence
It's more important now than ever to have a strong digital presence.
At Kingston EcDev, we have free resources available to Kingston area businesses to help with your social media channels, digital marketing, website, SEO (search engine optimization), Google My Business, and more.
Whether you're an existing digital business or you're ready to make the transformation, we're here for you!
The world is coming together in many ways to support each other during this challenging time. Here are some great resources to get you started.
- BmDodo Strategic Design if offering Shopify e-commerce website design, build and training for $2,500
- Digital Main Street has put together a Digital Starter Kit for Small Businesses. They also offer free training videos on all things digital marketing: web design, email marketing, social media marketing, e-commerce, local SEO, and much more!
- Facebook will be offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses. They have offered additional tips in their Business Resource Hub. Support Kingston is offering free Facebook advertising services.
- Google Ads is giving $340 million in ad credits to small and medium-sized businesses who have been active advertisers since at least the beginning of 2019. There are also further details about their other initiatives to support SMBs.
- Mailchimp is giving $10 million in Mailchimp service to small business customers who want to continue using Mailchimp’s platform but need some financial support during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Storyvine is offering free video templates to help with getting your message out.
- HelpForMyRestaurant.com has a comprehensive 'digital survival kit' for restaurants and bars.
- Ubersuggest has added more options to their free plan for keyword research and SEO analyzer platform.
- Online Sales Optimization guide by BDC
Promote Your Online Presence
There are a number of amazing community resources available to let the public know about your business. We recommend reaching out to each of these organizations to get your business listed for free!
- Love Kingston
- Visit Kingston
- Downtown Kingston! BIA
- Buy Local.ly
- Foodie Pages
- Postmedia Local Marketing Grant
- How to market your brand on social media during a crisis - Buffer
- Six strategies for Facebook and Instagram ads during the COVID-19 pandemic - Wordstream
- How to communicate sensitively during a crisis - Constant Contact
- SEO Guidebook - Spark
Build a website without e-commerce.
If e-commerce isn't right for you at the moment, but you still need a website, here are some tools to get you started.
Wordpress - Wordpress is dynamic and powerful, but it's not always the best option for novices. Pricing varies depending on hosting.
Squarespace - Squarespace is great for simple sites, powerful sites, and e-commerce. Pricing starts at $12 USD per month.
Wix - Wix's pricing begins at $10 USD per month. They do offer free sites, but they don't look very professional, so we recommend not using the free option if you can help it.
ShopHERE provides independent small businesses and artists with a quick, easy and no-cost way to get selling online right away.
Interested in Digital Support?
Complete the form below and one of our Business Development Officers will contact you within one business day.
Workshops + EventsView All
Building Confidence in Sales. Are you having trouble getting out of your comfort zone and talking about your business in a sales setting?
How can women entrepreneurs help create a remote workforce that is inclusive + accessible? Join presenter Anisha Phillips to learn more.
During this workshop, we will discuss navigating the journey from Maker to Manufacturer.
From checking the viability of your new business model to calculating your break-even point, join for a session on financial management.