5 ways small businesses can stay relevant through online innovation

August 11, 2017 | Rethinking shop and trade classes Iacovos Zachariades, President, Global Reach, iacovos@globalreach.com

These days, staying relevant involves staying connected. Businesses are being challenged to deliver more and more conveniences and services online. So how can a small, main street business stay innovative and relevant when it comes to the needs of their customers?

Here are a few pointers:

Keep an up-to-date websiteHaving an up-to-date website that is mobile-friendly is key in staying relevant. No one wants to spend time attempting to learn about your product or service through a clunky, un-optimized interface, nor will you be able to compete with other businesses if your website is out-of-date.

Be transparent
As big as the internet is, it holds many similarities to a small town. Everyone is somehow connected and everyone talks. Keep that in mind as you conduct your day-to-day business. What you do offline can find its way online in the form of reviews. Convey an air of transparency by inviting your customers to review your products and services through online review platforms like Google or Yelp. It shows customers you have nothing to hide and that you value their feedback.

Provide convenient online tools or services
With big-box stores and other online services upping their game when it comes to convenience, it’s important that small businesses do the same. This could involve developing a mobile app to help your customers pay their bills or manage their accounts online, or providing speedy delivery or pickup options through your website. Prove value and convenience, and you’ll prove relevance by default.

Build relationships with your audience
Engage your customers through genuine interactions with them online. One way to do that is to utilize social media. Provide customer service by answering their questions and developing a sense of camaraderie with your social audience.

Never stop learning
Make a point to keep up with the latest trends and best practices when it comes to marketing and sales strategies. To stay relevant, you must constantly research your competitors and industry trends, identifying what you need to do to stay ahead of the curve.