The holiday shopping season is underway, and consumers are shopping online more than ever due to the coronavirus pandemic. Luckily for small businesses, people have also become more conscious of what brands they support. According to Google, 66% of people in the U.S. who plan to shop this holiday season say they will shop more at local small businesses. As a result, Google is offering owners access to their Small Business Holiday Hub to help prepare for a busy season. Here’s what businesses need to know to maximize their online presence.
A useful website and easy online shopping experience could make or break a successful shopping season, as a study by DaVinci Payments found that 71% of US adults plan to do more than half of their shopping digitally. One tool offered by Google, Grow My Store, will analyze a website for free and offer tips on how to improve, including product information, store details, customer service, and more. If a business focuses on physical sales rather than digital, Local Opportunity Finder can help businesses improve their Google Business Profile and encourage consumers to shop in-store. Besides sharing basic information like the phone number and website, the tool shares how to add more attributes like curbside pickup, women-led, black-owned, and more. These differentiators can be why a customer decides to shop at a store, so the more information provided, the better.
Outsourcing marketing is typically the best route for small businesses, as many owners simply don’t have the time to execute an effective marketing strategy. However, due to the pandemic, some may not be able to afford external marketing and are trying to do it independently. Google’s small business holiday hub provides various short lessons on how to maximize a business’s online presence. A few lessons include how to list products in Google for free, how to make it easy for customers to find your business, and how to create an effective social media plan.
Importance of Online Presence
Whether a business exclusively sells online or in-store, a strong online presence is critical to success. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the essential components, too. One way to self-audit is to search for the types of products or services your business offers. Does your business come up in the search? If not, it’s time to evaluate how to boost your SEO to have your company rank higher in appropriate searches. Also, make sure all the information listed online is correct. Many businesses adjusted their hours or days of operation during the height of the pandemic. Inaccurate information could be hindering your business without you knowing.
Don’t let the holiday shopping season overwhelm you. It’s an excellent opportunity to reach new consumers, and Google’s Small Business Holiday Hub makes it easier than ever to do so.
Mark Stewart, founder of micro- and small-business accelerator Concept2Completion, has more than 25 years of leadership experience with Fortune 50 organizations and through founding other businesses. Mark provides expert insight into common marketing trends and digital strategy. Mark is an elected member of the Chandler, Arizona City Council, Arizona Ambassador for the Job Creators Network and an Executive Board Member for the East Valley Partnership.