Reflections on 2020 in Local: Innovation by Necessity

From a big-picture perspective, innovative tech providers are recognizing that SMBs don’t need all the bells and whistles that may come with an enterprise solution. They need tech that solves critical everyday problems that are common across the local landscape. 

Can Immersive Marketing Boost Local Businesses?

One of the emerging technologies driving innovation amid Covid is AR. For example, its ability to add real-life interactivity to e-commerce gained traction in 2020. This could extend to a post-Covid world of “touchless” retail for in-aisle virtual product interaction.

How SMBs Capitalize on Customer Data

Small businesses have had to squeeze every bit of value out of their operations in the past year and are quickly realizing the importance of knowing their customers. Luckily, collecting and taking action on data doesn’t have to mean learning an entirely new skill set. 

Rather, it can be as simple as using the information that you already have, or could easily access, to improve the things that you’re already doing.

5 Mobile Ordering Platforms for Independent Coffee Shops

For those independent businesses that made the leap to order-ahead tech, the financial rewards in 2020 were significant. According to data from Odeko, coffee shops using order-ahead marketplaces prior to Covid-19 saw a net increase in customers with little-to-no drop-off in existing customers this year.

We review the top mobile ordering platforms for coffeeshops.

Email Security for Small Businesses

A secure company email account is just as important for small and medium-sized businesses as it is for large enterprises. More often than not, it’s email-based breaches at Fortune 500 companies making the news, but SMBs are targeted by email threats just as often, if not more.

Locating Holiday Success for Small Businesses

Because of the enormous spike in online transactions, there are more ways for customers to shop than ever before, creating new opportunities for small businesses to connect with core segments and personalize messaging with data-based insights grounded in historical trends and real-time behaviors. The ability to target individuals based on where they have previously been is tremendously valuable as consumer behavior has been required to adjust to ever-changing guidelines at the state/city and local level. 

How to Attract and Retain Current Customers With CRM Software as a Small Business

Understanding the journey from a lead to a customer is critical, and with most online shoppers needing some form of customer support before they complete a purchase, implementing CRM as a small business should be a goal early on. With that in mind, let’s discuss a few tips small businesses can use for CRM implementation. 

Accelerated Digital Transformation Levels Playing Field for Local Businesses

As local businesses and SMBs adjust to their new realities, digital transformation initiatives have surged — namely in the form of pivoting to e-commerce selling and delivery models. Why? It’s no secret that online sales have taken the lead across the business landscape during Covid-19, and that is likely to continue. 

What’s Snapchat’s Local Play?

Snap continues to make moves in local commerce. Historic steps include geo-filters, while more recent activity includes Local Lenses and business listings in Snap Map. These features are notable on their own, but they get more interesting when you view them together and extrapolate to Snap’s local road map.

For example, Snap has more 13-34-year-olds active than any other channel, including Facebook and Instagram. This essentially means Snap can offer SMBs incremental and non-duplicated reach to an attractive audience.

Social Media is Not Enough: 3 Reasons Why Websites are a Must for Businesses

During the Covid era, the value of a website has increased exponentially. According to a recent survey, 82% of US small business owners find their website to be an essential part of their businesses’ success, and 54% reported a boost in website traffic since the beginning of quarantines.

Whether you’re a small business owner or someone with an idea, developing a website as your home base is beneficial to growing your customer base and online brand. Here’s why.

How Small Businesses Can Conquer E-Commerce for the Holidays

As the pandemic continues, consumers are shifting their expectations of brands as well. They don’t just want coupons in their email anymore, they expect an intuitive browsing and checkout process, accurate inventory and out-of-stock notifications, curbside delivery, and fast shipping.

E-commerce is already a must-have, and small businesses who understand this and take steps to offer their customers a way to buy online will create a memorable experience, more long-term loyalty, and ultimately more sales this holiday season.

Local Businesses’ Newest Competitive Edge: Distribution and Delivery Data

To continue delivering products and services to their local communities safely — no matter the fluctuating restrictions — businesses are offering order-ahead, curbside pickup, touchless payments, and sophisticated delivery options, whether through their own operations or through third-party providers such as GrubHub and DoorDash. These flexible distribution options not only help drive continued momentum, they also create a myriad of new valuable customer data points that must be captured and incorporated into rapidly evolving customer engagement strategies.

How Local Businesses Can Survive Without a Website

It is hard to imagine operating a business without a website. However, it can be done. In fact, it is already being done by the over 40% of American small businesses that still don’t own a website of any kind. It should be noted that the lack of a website by some businesses isn’t usually due to choice, but rather due to cost. 

Even so, local businesses that lack the wherewithal to launch and maintain a website need not despair because there are a host of other viable marketing and communication methods at their disposal to bring awareness to their goods and services.

How the E-Commerce Wave Is Helping SMBs Increase Revenue

For many of the small businesses that have stayed afloat so far, e-commerce has become the new focus. A quarter of brick-and-mortar retail businesses surveyed in June said they’ve already added an e-commerce channel to their operations this year. Retail SMBs either want a piece of the growing pie that is e-commerce sales in 2020, or they’ve realized they won’t survive without an online sales component.

Whatever the motivation, the uptick in e-commerce sales has set the stage for SMBs to start boosting their revenue. And to complement the current market conditions, the rise of no-code tools is making online retail success more accessible than ever to SMBs. These solutions are proving to be the surfboard that helps small businesses successfully ride that e-commerce wave.

Street Fight’s August Theme: The Next Normal

As we roll into August, it’s time to establish Street Fight’s monthly editorial focus. After our standard ritual (no animals harmed), we’ve settled on “The Next Normal.” Forced to adopt new technologies just to survive, some local businesses have experienced a decade of evolution in just a few months.

So the question is, how will newly elevated local businesses transform the local commerce landscape? If a large share of the local business universe has raised its game, what will be the new “bar” in local media, advertising, and commerce? How should tech providers adjust to new demand signals?

Customer Engagement Critical for Local Business Survival During Re-Emergence

It has been an especially hard few months for small businesses, many of which will never reopen or will take months – if not years – to recover financially from the shutdowns and reduced patron numbers. 

Despite the challenges, there are very real opportunities for sustained growth during this time. To survive and thrive during this next period, local businesses must deepen their customer relationships despite having fewer resources available. While it may sound like a conundrum, this actually presents a significant opportunity to deliver a personalized customer experience and drive loyalty. 

Location-Based Search Disrupts Brand-Centric Theory of Marketing

Building a brand will never stop being essential for companies with brick-and-mortar locations hoping to secure the dollars of nearby consumers. But a new report from location marketing firm Uberall suggests the rise of location-based or “near me” search is undermining the power of branding alone, increasing the importance of optimizing for searches in which consumers are simply looking for the closest, most convenient option while on the go.

Top 5 CRO Tools That Will Increase Conversions for Your Small Business

CRO is the process of setting up a website in a way that leads site visitors to take action and purchase products. As a result, they are converted into customers of the business. 

If you have a site that has high traffic, that is naturally a good sign. But it doesn’t mean much unless that traffic leads to conversions. Based on current research, we’ve compiled the top 5 CRO tools that you can use to increase conversions and bring in greater profit.

Yelp Revamps its Business Control Center and Releases Other Pandemic-Adaptive Features

The announcement follows massive layoffs at the company as advertising plunged along with SMB revenue in the face of coronavirus-fueled lockdowns. But a recent Brandify survey showed Yelp remains a massive presence in the local digital marketing space: 64% of US consumers are somewhat or very likely to turn to Yelp when searching for restaurants, second only to the leader across verticals, Google.

Yelp’s new features will prove especially helpful for businesses in the months, if not years during which Covid-19 continues to affect everyday habits, but a number of the changes align with digital marketing best practices that will serve Yelp clients well beyond the next 12 months. Below is a rundown.

With Stimulus Funds Delayed, Small Businesses Digitize for Survival

Experts at helping SMBs adapt to a tech-first commercial landscape say the pandemic has led some businesses to tap into their long-dormant potential as digital marketers and sellers, possibly setting them up for gains in the aftermath of the recession. Now that e-commerce is the only path to survival, mom-and-pop shops, aided by martech firms, agencies, and Silicon Valley giants, are capitalizing on cutting-edge marketing and retail techniques, many for the first time.

Thousands, if not millions, of Main Street businesses will close their doors for good as a result of the pandemic. Those that survive will be technologically savvier and sleeker than they were before.