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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Training program furthering SMEs’ e-tailing activity

Published: May 28, 2019


Heli Aaltonen, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences


online retailing; small and medium-sized enterprises; training programs


This paper discusses how to further SMEs’ online retailing (e-tailing) activity by a training program. Transforming from bricks-and-mortar into clicks-and-mortar retailer requires new strategies, capabilities and resources. This implies that SMEs with limited resources need support from public sector development organizations. The study considers two research questions: What is a purposeful content of a training program in order to develop the e-tailer’s business skills? What are effective learning approach and methods? In all, 18 e-tailers participated in the training programs in order to gain e-commerce capability. Both quantitative and qualitative data regarding the participants, their firms and learning results was collected. The learning results indicate that an effective training for SMEs in based on experiential learning approach. The program integrates topical knowledge and hands-on experimentation, firm-specific practical guidance and encouraging and inspiring role models as facilitators.


Acknowledgements This study and the training program is one part of a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).