Tales from SMB: Your Digital Store Front

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I recently have been bugging a friend who purchased a dog grooming shop to work on his website.  The website for his dog grooming shop was from 2004.  It had broken links, a Google search bar, it served ads, and even a gif of Felix the Cat.  I imagine all these things were impressive for a website in 2004.  I wanted to update the site and put in an online appointment function.  I was going to do this all for free.  His response, “I am too busy with getting the front of my store improved.”

The front of the store, I thought.  Isn’t the front of your store it’s webpage?  With everything going in the post-COVID world the chances of someone seeing the front of your small business before your web page is incredibly small. Driving activity across the country has dropped by 50%.  Internet usage is up 70% this year, and e-commerce is expected to grow +18% while overall retail expected to experience a negative growth of 10%.  Customers are not running out making a purchasing decision in person.   Your customers are coming to you with purpose.  They are researching your business online before they ever make a trip to your storefront.  Are you making the decision process easy?

Internet usage is up 70% this year, and e-commerce is expected to grow +18% while overall retail expected to experience a negative growth of 10%.

I decided to look into how the local small businesses in the area around our office were adapting to the changes.  The answer was similar to what I found from my friend.  They were probably busy fixing something else.  I visited over 500 local business websites and found similar issues on most of their sites.  Whether it be mobile site speed, broken links, or they just haven’t been touched in 5 years.  For example, of over 100 local restaurants, the average Google Mobile Site Speed Score was 37.  Your digital presence should be a representation of the care and hard work you put into your business each and every day.

For example, of over 100 local restaurants, the average Google Mobile Site Speed Score was 37.

Over the course of the next year I want to continue to push and prod at SMB websites.  Sharing my discoveries and insights with all of you.  Another example, only 55% of the local restaurants use any first party audience tracking.  This being an instance where a restaurant would have the best customer data they could ever want, and they are not even collecting it.  These are some of the themes I want to go over in the coming months. It is important now more than ever that we huddle together, and look at how we do business in this acceleration of the digital age.  What we did yesterday is no longer relevant to today.

I will continue to push my friend to improve his online storefront.  But do you have a friend pushing you?   Please challenge what you have been doing with your website today.  Spend time looking at your customer acquisition.  Are your funnels working?  Whether it be a friend, a business partner, or customer it is important that you are getting feedback on what works and what doesn’t for your digital presence.

Let us be the friend that pushes you…

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