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I trust my gut. But I don’t ignore numbers. I’ll try to keep the nerdiness to a minimum—after the next two sentences. Ignoring numbers would be like completely ignoring science. I find a balance between my subjective intuition and objective data because neither alone can give the most accurate picture for sound decision-making.

My intuition told me that it’d be worthwhile to survey those potentially interested in supporting Bold Xchange. Where do they usually buy black? Online? In person? Since I’m committed to building the most convenient online platform for patronizing black-owned businesses, obviously I have my own sentiments. But what do others think? We ended up surveying 106 people and here are the results:

From the beginning, the results leaned toward people most often buying black in person. I guess that makes sense; published data shows that as a society we still shop in person much more than we do online. E-commerce is trending upward, though.

I didn’t know whether we should make this new information public. After all, it confirms that most of Bold Xchange’s potential supporters probably shop in a manner that we don’t plan to offer any time soon. However, I realized that when put in context, these numbers aren’t discouraging for us at all.

We embarked on our mission because we were unable to find a consistently reliable way to buy black online across multiple brands at one time.

Online Marketplaces Have Yet To Get It Right

We embarked on our mission because we were unable to find a consistently reliable way to buy black online across multiple brands at one time. If anything, the fact that most people have opted to stick to in-person shopping is a great thing. Those who came before us, our potential competitors, and anyone cooking up new ideas have yet to crack the online code.

People who prefer shopping in person could change their minds! We just know it. 

We Spend Most of Our Time On Devices Anyway

Let’s just say that the people who already buy black online like the Bold Xchange team are early adopters. Regardless of buying habits, we’re all glued to our devices day and night. It’s only a matter of time before the majority of people get more comfortable with buying directly from their phones and even more frequently from their laptops and tablets.

We’ve made it a goal to interview as many of our customers as possible to learn what they liked and didn’t like about their Bold shopping experience. Every single one of them we’ve talked to so far has commented on our sleek yet “straight to the point” design. Their positive feedback is encouraging, but we know there’s still much progress to be made. We’ve only been tweaking our process for two weeks. A combination of more customer feedback and our own ideas will keep pushing us in the right direction, convincing people to buy black online.

Local, regional, and national showcases are where you’re most likely to encounter hard-working black small business owners. 

Flattening The Coronavirus Curve Will Lead To More Online Shopping

As of this writing, the United States has yet to see the worst of the coronavirus. In true American fashion, low-risk contractors are refusing to self-quarantine under the guise of personal freedom and liberty. But thankfully, governments and business owners are starting to close up shop, forcing defiant people to stay at home. 

When it comes to black-owned businesses, the canceling and postponing of events concerns me most. Local, regional, and national showcases are where you’re most likely to encounter hard-working black small business owners.

I can’t help but wonder about black business supporters, too. If their favorite markets are closed, are they going to seek out their favorite brands online?

Some businesses aren’t able to shift their focus to digital, recouping at least a fraction of their projected revenue. And for those who are capable, are they actually ready to do so? If they didn’t have a contingency plan in place, they’re probably playing serious catch-up. 

I can’t help but wonder about black business supporters, too. If their favorite markets are closed, are they going to seek out their favorite brands online? If not, will they find comparable black-owned alternatives? Or will they hit pause on shopping black at the level they did before the coronavirus appeared? It’ll probably be a mix of all three possibilities.

Bold Xchange will be here—through our shop and helping hand to concerned business owners—doing everything we can to not only hold the line on black business support but also create new pathways for black businesses to come out of this difficult time thriving.