Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, and they make our communities special. Businesses are revitalizing their towns, creating jobs, and shaping their communities—one customer and employee at a time.
We wanted to better understand the web’s role in helping small businesses grow in today’s economy, so we recently commissioned new research with Deloitte. The study found that the use of digital tools (such as websites, analytics, and online marketing) positively impacts small business growth in four key ways: reaching new customers, reaching new markets, growing faster, and creating jobs.
Reaching more customers
Digital tools help small businesses reach more customers at every stage of the purchase process. In fact, Deloitte’s research found that small businesses using advanced digital tools such as web analytics and online video, were almost 3x as likely to have increased customer interest, like calls and leads. They were also more than 3x as likely to have seen more sales inquiries, like foot traffic and orders, in the last year. Wichita Furniture in Wichita, KS has experienced these highly qualified leads first-hand. Their website traffic increased almost 50 percent in 2016, and they attribute the lion’s share of this growth to online advertising.
“...[Online advertising] brings quality customers through our doors—people who have seen our products and know what they’re looking for. As a result, we’ve seen a drastic increase in our sales per guest.”
- Jay Storey, President & Founder, Wichita Furniture
Reaching new markets
The web can open up new markets to small businesses, whether they’re across the country or across the world. Deloitte’s research found that digitally advanced small businesses are 3x as likely to have exported in the last year. That’s what Jim and Kelley Hobart discovered with their company Alpaca Direct, based in Hayden, ID. Digital resources like online video and cloud-based communication tools connect Alpaca Direct to customers across the globe.
"There are a lot of people all over the world who don't have a local yarn shop. We want to become their local yarn shop even though we're all the way here in Idaho."
- Kelley Hobart, Co-Owner, Alpaca Direct
Digitally advanced small businesses experienced revenue growth that was nearly 4x as high as the previous year. Businesses like Kaleidoscope Hair Products based in New Orleans, LA, are growing faster because of the web. In 2016, Kaleidoscope reached more than 43,000 customers and doubled their revenue from the previous year.
"We went from selling no products to having a full warehouse, exponential growth, and distributors all around the world."
- Jesseca Dupart, Owner and CEO, Kaleidoscope Hair Products
Digitally advanced small businesses are job creators. In fact, they were nearly 3x as likely to have created new jobs in the last year. Dreamstyle Remodeling, based in Albuquerque, NM, is a job creator in their community. They have been growing 34 percent annually since 2013 and expect to reach $100 million in sales this year. Since developing their digital strategy, Dreamstyle has added 250 employees to keep pace with their growth. They plan on hiring another 500 people to support their expansion in two additional locations by 2020.
"We think [our 2020 plan] is possible... And the web and Google tools are going to be critical to that growth."
- Larry Chavez, CEO, Dreamstyle Remodeling
This is a glimpse into how small businesses are growing using digital tools. Read the full results from the Deloitte research study.
To learn how your business can get online and grow, check out new resources available through our Get Your Business Online program.
Posted by Soo Young Kim, Small Business Outreach