Can Shopify solve the ecommerce industry’s diversity problem?

Perhaps the American ecommerce space needs a Canadian company to address diversity issues.

(Getty Images / iStockphoto) of diversity
(Getty Images / iStockphoto)
Dapper Dan shares inclusivity advice in a Business of Fashion interview.
Dude With A Sign meme holds up a fake sign reading what about ‘culture fit’?
BTW, Seth, AKA Dude With A Sign, is protesting against police abuses.
  1. VC, PE firms cut checks to mostly white founders
  2. Many tech companies donate to groups that fight racism when it’s good PR, like now

You don’t need a pie chart or journey mapping to see why builders of color aren’t at ecommerce industry shows.

Perhaps VC firms will do something big versus paying lip service to support racial diversity now that Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand pledged to donate $100mn to organizations ensuring racial equality?

Screenshot of Dylan Whitman’s post on LinkedIn calling out the racism issue in ecommerce.
Dylan Whitman shared ecommerce company names where zero black senior executives work.
Screenshot of Dylan Whitman’s LinkedIn post.
  • Name a SaaS company founded by two Black entrepreneurs.
  • Which Black-owned solution providers (not brands) are active in ‘DTC Twitter’?
  • Were the first 5 hires at your company white?

It’s time the ecommerce industry started troubleshooting its racism. Since systemic racism was built, it can be dismantled. By chance, dismantling systems and finding solutions is what the community we’re a part of succeeds in.

HR Training
The task of diversity training for HR leads/managers and recruitment professionals can’t be shelved until 2021. At Shopify’s Toronto office, a Diversity & Belonging Lead oversees a global diversity and belonging strategy. Naturally, not every ecommerce company can afford or needs such a role, but hiding behind a chief diversity officer doesn’t cut it. Ask the ad industry how that's going.

  1. At the top — company founders knew the best ideas came from worldly perspectives and open collaboration.
  2. We looked beyond ourselves and partnered with area organizations and businesses like Nationalities Service Center.
  3. The leadership team never shied away from taking political risks.
  4. Employees had access to the executive team who kept an open-door policy.
Philadelphia protesters marching to support Black Lives Matter.
Wil Reynolds, we see you.
  1. Pore over resources like this deck showing 100-plus brand responses to Black Lives Matter assembled by Lexie Pérez, Julian Cole, Stephanie Vitacca, and Davis Ballard.
  2. Buy from Black-owned brands online direct or in marketplaces such as theBOM, Katika, and Trafek.
  3. Employees - ask executive teams and boards to explain how team members of color can climb up after getting their foot in the door or how they will diversify recruiting strategies.
Shopify tweeted in support of black-owned businesses.
Shopify tweeted in support of black-owned businesses.

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John Forberger

I run Forberger Communications, a B2B Public Relations firm for retail vendors (SaaS businesses, Shopify apps, tools, agencies). www.johnforberger.com