Commerce data academy said it is facing “severe challenges” with its business model and will need to focus on developing a mobile app to compete with Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc. that offer online shopping for businesses.
The online retailer is facing strong competition from eBay and Amazon, which are both offering online sales.
Commerce data is an online trading system for retail businesses that tracks purchases, inventory and sales.
The academy, based in Waukesha, Wis., has been operating for nearly three decades.
It recently raised $12.5 million in funding from Fidelity Investments.
The school is in the midst of a $40 million expansion to add 1,500 full-time jobs and add more than 2,000 faculty members.
The trade school was founded in 1996 and is a private business with about 150 students.
It has about 2,300 full- and part-time faculty members, including about 2 to 3 percent of the enrollment.
The business has grown substantially over the past decade and is projected to grow to 1.7 million students by 2020, Commerce data said in a news release.
The Academy has been focusing on technology to compete and that includes building an online portal that is compatible with tablets, laptops and phones.
The technology allows customers to purchase products directly from Commerce data’s online store, rather than having to go through an online retailer, it said.
The app allows students to view merchandise inventory in real time, create shopping lists, view prices and add to them.
In addition to its digital app, the academy also offers a virtual shop, which allows students and faculty to view products and services they can order and pick up.
It is a model that is popular with small businesses, which may have more access to the internet.
In March, the trade school launched a virtual store to provide a one-stop shop for students and instructors to view the company’s business information and make purchases.
Commerce said the app will be available for iOS and Android devices in the first quarter of 2019.
The new Commerce academy is one of two new trade schools set to open in the next five years.
The other is a smaller one, the Trade Data Academy, which opened in 2016 in New Jersey.
The Trade Data academy was founded by two entrepreneurs, John H. Boulware, a former chief technology officer of a global financial services company, and Robert S. Fogleman, who worked at Goldman Sachs.