As we look toward the future of retail for Black founders many questions come to mind.

What do retailers want? How can they be successful?

For founders like Sterling Smith, the answer is simple.

“Retailers want freedom,” he tells Will Lucas on the latest episode of the Black Tech Green Money podcast. “Retailers want flexibility and they want the ability to say ‘hey, I’m with Shopify one day but it isn’t allowing me to service my customers in this way, using this third-party integration partner so let me go to BitCommerce. They also want minimum to zero lag time and downtime.”

He also explains that retailers also want to be able to not only complete transactions with their customers but also want to be able to leverage the data and own their customer data.

“Technologies like Sandbox Commerce allows for growing brands and retailers to do just that in the same way that larger brands snd retailers that you may find in stores like Nordstroms are doing,” continued Smith.


Smith is the founder of SandBox Commerce — the tool that helps store owners launch e-commerce apps without having to learn to code in less than 10 minutes.

“I went from being a software engineer at Walmart which was my first job out of school, Lockheed Martin was my second job out of school, and for each of those companies there were a lot of shared attributes that I picked up along the way that helped inform my decision to start Sandbox Commerce,” said Smith.

He explains that the bridge between corporate, working as an engineer, and individual contributor at those companies, to starting Sandbox Commerce included a step in between where he started his first company which was an agency called Launch Partner.

“The motto at Launch Partner was, and still is, ‘if it takes longer than 8 minutes to build, it’s probably not an MVP,'” continued Smith. “Today we’ve built 85 MVPs and although they’re still cooking, I’m no longer involved in the day-to-day, but am still a whole owner of the company.”

For more on why Smith says Black-owned businesses need to develop a team around their business, the fruitfulness that comes with freelancing, and more listen to the full episode of Black Tech Green Money below:

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