While local businesses have been hit hard this spring, here at Roots Digital we believe there are some big opportunities for local businesses to grow and gain market share. The family hardware store, the local café, the independent contractor – what do all these have in common? They’re owned and operated in their local communities. They are local businesses. Whether small, medium, or large, local businesses have the opportunity to thrive and become stronger than ever.
Collectively, local businesses across America already account for over 50% of private-sector employment. And there’s a reason that local businesses are such a big contributor to employment. In fact, there are many reasons that local businesses thrive in the United States.
- The internet is great, but we still need people. It’s in our nature to want human interaction (even virtual human interaction) for many transactions. And when we need that human interaction, most of us would prefer to go to a local expert than a cookie-cutter chain. Which leads to the next reason…
- Local businesses know their customers and can offer products and services that meet their needs. Large, chain businesses benefit from cost efficiencies but what they sacrifice to gain those efficiencies is customization. When you’re purchasing for thousands of stores, you can’t take into consideration what one small town may prefer. On the contrary, local businesses on the other hand have the flexibility to offer the goods and services that they know their customers want.
- One word – millennials. This generation gets a lot of flak for their need for customization and personalization. Perhaps it was the “everybody wins” attitude of their parents, but this desire is great for local businesses who are poised to provide the unique experience and customize products millennials crave. With millennials now accounting for a quarter of the population and expected account for over 50% of the workforce by 2020, local businesses can be hopeful of a continued shift towards local experiences.
Are you a local business? Probably feeling pretty good right now, huh? Here’s the thing — while consumers do tend to prefer local businesses, they won’t always choose local if it’s inconvenient or more difficult. Local businesses still need to keep up with current technologies – technologies that millennials haven’t ever had to live without – like smartphones, practically unlimited access to information, and 24/7 media. You’ve got some great local roots and that’s something a big corporation can’t replicate. Now, it’s time to make sure your customers have a convenient local option to choose.
Here are some opportunities for local business owners to make their businesses more successful:
- Make your website user friendly. Now, more than ever, customers like to search online and they’re likely to be searching on a mobile device. A mobile-friendly, easy-to-navigate website is a must. Has it been a while since you updated your site? And we mean really updated it. Not just adding more content to the homepage or correcting mistakes, but actually refreshing your site to be responsive and easy-to-use.
- Clean up your online ordering/sales process. If you don’t have a way to transact with your customers online, take a good hard look at ways you can take at least part of the transaction online. Your customers will thank you.
- Be easy to find. Ensure that your local listings are updated and accurate, post relevant, local content, and engage with customers through social media to make sure your business comes up when customers search.
- React to current trends. Take a look at what other businesses are doing around you and figure out how you can compete. Don’t just ignore new trends. Right now, it’s essential for businesses to adapt to our current world. Checkout more tips on How to Get More Customers During COVID-19.
The local businesses that remain true to their roots, provide customized products and services, AND tap into technology, will continue to see success and will ultimately come out on top. We believe that with all our hearts. Do you? If you do and you’d like some help upgrading your digital presence, we’d love to chat.