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Senator Lee’s Digital Platforms Hearing “Poorly Timed and Wholly Unfounded”

Salt Lake City, UT (September 15, 2020): The Connected Commerce Council (3C) responded today to Sen. Mike Lee’s, R-Utah, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy & Consumer Rights, hearing on digital platforms. The hearing comes as millions of American small businesses are increasingly leveraging online tools, resources, and marketplaces amid unprecedented uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Senator Lee fully understands how important low-cost digital tools and platforms are to small businesses. His home state of Utah showed considerable small business resilience during the pandemic, thanks in no small part to the Digital Safety Net,” said Jake Ward, 3C President. “While Senator Lee has a responsibility to conduct oversight, this hearing is both poorly timed and wholly unfounded. It’s time for him and Congress to get back to work trying to make life easier, not harder, for small businesses during this economic crisis.”

Last week, the Connected Commerce Council (3C) hosted a roundtable discussion with Utah small business owners focused on the importance of digital tools during the COVID-19 crisis and Utah’s extraordinary investment in innovation and a statewide technology economy. According to a report released by 3C on September 10, Utah small businesses are among the most digitally empowered and revenue resilient in the country.

“We started ROOLEE as a brick-and-mortar store when we were seniors in college,” said ROOLEE owner Chad Champlin and an attendee at the Roundtable. “We then grew on social media, created a website, and the rest is history. There’s not a ton of growth opportunities during COVID, so we need every digital tool at our disposal to keep our existing customers coming back. We support a continued focus on tech growth and innovative solutions to help small businesses, such as ROOLEE, to succeed in an increasingly digital environment.”

The Digitally Driven report also confirmed that “Digital Drivers,” the small businesses like ROOLEE that have embraced digital tools, expect four times better revenue than those businesses operated by digital skeptics. And regardless of where they fall on the digital continuum, 72 percent of small businesses increased the usage of their digital tools during the pandemic. In Utah, 76 percent of small businesses reported increased usage of digital tools during the pandemic; 32 percent are Digital Drivers. 

“The evidence is clear that those companies which adopted e-commerce and digital tools early on are better positioned to make it through this pandemic. Instead of trying to break things up, Congress needs to help build a better future by ensuring small businesses retain access to these tools, and that they have every resource possible to compete and grow,” added Ward.

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