The Opportunities NB (ONB) Export Development team is, under normal circumstances, busy preparing for in-market activities such as trade missions, trade shows, accelerator programs, and conferences. With COVID-19 altering everything about the way we do business, however, we have altered the way we support our many exporting companies.

Just like New Brunswick businesses, we recognize that in the face of this global pandemic, it is essential to remain agile and pivot to new business models when possible. We like to call it Export Development 2.0.

We have already outlined the broad strokes of the ONB Export Development team’s response to helping companies in a post-COVID-19 world. One of the six focus areas noted in that piece was ‘e-commerce awareness and training’. Today, we explore that topic in more detail.

What can you tell us about the surge in e-commerce activity and the critical role it will play for New Brunswick’s exporting companies moving forward? 

Business has seen an extremely quick shift to online/digital. In some cases, we are noting 30 per cent increase, in others, it has reached 100 per cent. As a country, we have been behind for some time. China, for example, has been operating in that mode for a long while.

There are new opportunities to reach more consumers via e-commerce if our companies can respond effectively. And this is not restricted to B2C businesses; this is also relevant in a B2B context. This will be the new normal for many companies that operate in both worlds.

ONB and New Brunswick businesses must look to platforms that offer the most exposure and best return on investment (ROI). Alibaba Group’s Tmall is not for all businesses, nor is Amazon. In fact, there are effective, highly-targeted channels that cater to specific goods and to specific clients in specific markets. We are studying and capturing the major platforms so that we can advise New Brunswick companies on where they might need to look.

Now more than ever, it is vital for New Brunswick companies to develop and implement strong e-commerce strategies to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Considering New Brunswick’s export intensiveness with respect to our provincial GDP it is critical for the strength of our economy that New Brunswick companies be well versed and ready to execute e-commerce and other digital strategies.

E-commerce can be a major selling channel for many New Brunswick firms; a game-changer for some. We think it is complementary to other business sales efforts. This pandemic and the rapid acceleration of global take up has shone a spotlight on a gap that already existed, so we aim to accelerate digitization generally and e-commerce more specifically among our exporting companies.

Need guidance on e-commerce strategy or anything else related to exporting? Contact our Export Development Team here.

Be sure to visit ONB’s COVID-19 resource page for more information on how our team can help.