As our society is moving toward, or more accurately, living in a digital world, it is imperative that local businesses keep up to date online.  Having an accurate up to date website is an easy way to satisfy current or future consumers right off the bat.  Since local businesses must service a digital world, allowing consumers access to accurate store hours, locations and products on the website allows for a good first impression.  Today, if a consumer is looking for a certain product, they will often take first to their search engines, so having an up to date website will drive searches, if all the information is on the website and accurate.  Lastly, being diligent on a local business website allows local businesses to immerse themselves in the community; to be noticed by the community itself.

Further, in a fast pace digital world it is crucial that local businesses make their websites easy to navigate.  Specifically looking at local restaurant businesses, there is a movement toward online ordering.  In order to make this process as painless as possible, the website must cater to the consumer by allowing for easy navigation.  There should be clear distinct buttons for online ordering and easy to find menus.  Online ordering should allow customers to do anything they would in the restaurant online, meaning, specific instructions on a dish like adding cheese, or getting a BLT without tomato.  Again, the purpose is to allow for a convenient, simple experience for consumers.  They are ordering online for a reason: they do not have time to come into the restaurant itself to order and headed to their smart phone or computer to order food quick and efficiently.

Like online restaurant orders, consumers are moving to online shopping, which is apparent as malls are dying everywhere.  Again, if consumers wanted to go into an actual store they would, but they are taking to the internet for convenience.  Making the process easy to navigate is necessary; all products online should be labeled and easy to find.  For example, a clothing store should have tabs labeled ‘women’ and ‘men’ with subtabs ‘tops’ that then should break down further ‘long-sleeve,’ ‘short-sleeve,’ etc.

With that, having a digital presence and allowing consumers to order online, can create consumer ease and convenience with the actual retail store.  For example, retail stores can create a service where consumers can order a product through their website and pick the product up at the store.  Consumers would have paid for the product online and the product would be ready for them to grab.  Which in turn, allows for a quick in and out store experience; therefore, leading to consumer ease and convenience, as previously mentioned.

While staying connected online local businesses should take to social media.  Social media allows local businesses to have conversations with customers, update them on products and creates a relationship in a sense boosting brand loyalty.  Further, this platform allows small businesses to address concerns and negative reviews.

Moreover, as society has moved to a digital world it is important to remember that there are also traditional platforms, such as radio/TV and print advertising.  Although radio and TV do not create a conversation it does allow local businesses to reach consumers.  With radio, local businesses can reach customers during morning rush hours and afternoon rush hours.  While TV advertising can reach consumers during morning news and late-night news.

It is always important to consider the target market consumer the business is trying to reach, and what platforms they might be using.  Lastly, direct mail advertising targets audiences with offers to drive consumers to the company’s website to make a purchase or just to learn more about products & services. It is imperative that businesses identify the target audience both geographically and demographically.  Reaching your best audience increases your successful campaign every time.