Small business: Why using digital tools is key to post-pandemic success

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(BPT) - The vaccine rollout has accelerated across the U.S. and people are beginning to return to their routines, but how they communicate, buy and do things has dramatically shifted. People spend more time — and buy more — online than ever before. During the pandemic, the country has witnessed 10 years of e-commerce growth within a few months.

Many small businesses have had to change and adapt the ways they find and communicate with customers, showing grit and digital entrepreneurship amid disruptions and challenges. Businesses using digital tools have experienced significantly less revenue loss than those that are not online. During the pandemic, revenue performance was 50% better for digitally savvy small businesses.

Google is dedicated to supporting and celebrating small business worldwide. Mary Ellen Coe, president of customer solutions for Google, outlines a few stories showing how small business owners have focused on strategies to ensure long-term success for their businesses.

One example of a business doing just that is Studley's Flower Gardens, a nearly 100-year-old family-owned florist, garden center and landscaping company. After launching their first website in 2003, online advertising helped them expand their reach and compete more effectively with national brands. Fast forward to 2020: Studley’s has created a strong online presence that proved fruitful when the pandemic forced their physical storefront to temporarily shut down. Understanding digital trends gave them the confidence to plan their next moves. Their online store allowed them to quickly transition to contactless pickup and delivery, and their digital sales tripled over the previous year.

Another digitally savvy business is Morgan Miller Plumbing in Grandview, Missouri. When Stella Crewse became CEO, she updated their digital capabilities including advertising and online presence. When the pandemic hit, digital tools enabled Morgan Miller Plumbing to not just survive but to thrive, growing from 15 to 19 employees. Online advertising makes it easy for new customers to find them, and digital scheduling tools help them organize their appointments.

And take CurlMix, a clean beauty brand for natural hair founded in 2015 by Kim and Tim Lewis. In that time, the business has grown from the Lewis’ garage to a warehouse with more than 40 employees. Video has been key to their mission of empowering Black women and their beauty through transparency and honesty. Kim’s videos are a blend of educational — teaching viewers how to best use and style CurlMix hair products — and personal conversations. Lewis’ authentic approach grew their following to more than 30,000 subscribers, and puts relevant content and products in front of more people searching for natural hair care tutorials and reviews.

These are just a sampling of small businesses that leaned into digital to find and reach customers and grow their business. Whether they’re demonstrating products and services on video platforms, updating their online presence to ensure they’re found when consumers are searching or boosting their e-commerce presence, effective digital solutions are available for every type of small business owner.

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