When I’m home during the summer, I help out around my dad’s electronics shop. It’s one of those small-town sorts of shops that, unfortunately, you just don’t see around that often these days. Its old-school feel is definitely a part of its charm, but I’m not sure if my dad is keeping things quite modern enough. It’s an electronics store, after all, so it should at least have a good website (it doesn’t) and maybe an app, or something. But as much as my dad loves devices, he’s not much for programming or design. I’m having a really hard time convincing him that he needs to learn how to update his website. Any suggestions?
As you point out, it’s a tough time to own a small business. Ecommerce giants like Amazon and big box stores like Walmart are making it harder and harder for local shops to compete. Though experts sometimes disagree on the hard data, there is a belief that Amazon is killing small businesses. And the internet is one spot where many small businesses are falling behind: Amazon and Walmart have huge websites that make things more convenient for shoppers. Still, studies show that customers do sometimes prefer the charm of small businesses. In fact, 61.2% are actually willing to pay higher prices for the privilege of shopping at a store like your father’s.
But “charm” doesn’t mean “having a bad website.” Whether we’re talking about electronics stores or cupcake bakeries, it’s becoming increasingly clear that small businesses need to embrace the internet to survive. That’s because so many consumers begin their shopping by performing an internet search, the SEO experts at Bambrick Media say. We’re also increasingly searching with our smartphones, meaning we’re looking for local solutions–and since 72% of people who performed a local search visited a store within 5 miles of them, it’s very clear that small local businesses should be thinking hard about how to best attract attention on search engines like Google. Yet, only 17% of small businesses say they invest in SEO. A good website is a must for your father, but it would be better if he didn’t stop there–a little SEO can go a long way in a time when so few competitors have caught on.
But all of this doesn’t mean that your father “needs to learn how to update his website,” as you say. It’s perfectly acceptable for him to outsource his tech tasks so that he can focus on the part of the work he does. There certainly are areas worth investing more seriously in, and with a multitude of technologies out there for everything from cart optimization to Customer Service, it can be difficult to decide just what is most important. Artificial intelligence (AI) service DigitalGenius helps customer service reps get to the heart of their work more efficiently, using their wealth of data and analytic-based softwares to suggest prewritten answers for customer service associates to use. The AI also files and tags the questions, which saves time and cuts down on human error. DigitalGenius tell us that their tech solutions are used by a wide variety of companies in an even wider array of industries–and they don’t expect their customers to all understand the intricacy of what they do. The beauty of a system like theirs is that it just works; they’ve done the work necessary to ensure accuracy with their AI technology, so it’s important to look for similar companies who really understand the service they are providing and strive to get it right the first time. Tech work is frequently outsourced, and there are plenty of web programmers, app designers, and SEO experts who would be more than happy to help your father out.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” ― Arthur C. Clarke