Brandon Kirkland, CEO of Ashland website design and consulting firm epicshops.com, will discuss eCommerce launches with small business owners Wednesday afternoon.

Kirkland will talk about ways to create websites that will better serve customers at the Southern Oregon University Higher Education Center in downtown Medford. The one-hour session begins at 3:45 p.m.

Kirkland has been creating websites and working with businesses since 1996. He created his present firm nine years ago. His firm serves 70 clients in the U.S. and Canada. The closest customer is in Portland, with most of them on the East Coast.

He finds companies often confuse their brick-and-mortar and online enterprises.

"What they don't understand," Kirkland said, "is that they have separate business models for marketing, customer, and everything else. For people who simply look at e-commerce as an add-on, it doesn't go well."

The more niche a business is in its operation, the easier it is to meet online customer needs, he said.

Technology has made e-commerce easier, reducing the cost of launching full-blown websites.

With Amazon set to handle 50 percent, at least online, of all retail sales in the next year, he said, it's evident e-commerce is continuing to grow across the board.

Kirkland will explain how e-commerce has grown and shaped business in the past two decades. He will also touch on administrative setup, costs and considerations.

The event is free. To register, go to the SOU Small Business site.