For small and medium-sized businesses with limited geographical footprint, online channels present an opportunity to expand their customer base and drive sales growth.
However, there are also challenges.
Beyond the resources and capabilities needed to run an online business, the biggest challenges Main Street small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face when selling products online are security and marketing. Specifically, 21% of these companies cited security-related issues as the main obstacle they face when selling products and services online, and 16% cited marketing costs as the most important challenge.
Look at the numbers
These are some of the key findings from the PYMNTS Intelligence survey.Main Street Health Q4 2023: E-commerce protects Main Street small businesses' bottom line as market coolsThe report was based on a survey of 540 small and medium-sized businesses with brick-and-mortar locations in commercial districts across the United States. This study investigated how these executives are addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with increased digital transformation. Industries analyzed in this study include construction, utilities, retail, professional services, consumer services, and hospitality.
Nearly 4 in 10 small businesses say marketing costs are a key issue when selling their products and services online. This element is more difficult than others, such as shipping and delivery and providing effective customer support.
The survey also found that 55% of small businesses believe digital marketing guidance is important to driving their business forward.
Some digital giants are allocating special initiatives and programs tailored to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses to bridge this gap. In 2023, Google expanded its Digital Coach program, which provides free online marketing advice and assistance to small businesses across the United States. The program aims to connect businesses with certified digital coaches in their region to help them navigate the various aspects of online operations and maximize brand awareness.
Meanwhile, Mastercard launched a marketing hub last year to help entrepreneurs grow digitally. Through a structured mix of educational content, the platform offers tools to create marketing assets, such as free online graphic design tools and a discounted Hootsuite membership that allows businesses to reach customers across multiple social media channels. Provided to small and medium-sized businesses.
These customized products are two examples of solutions Main Street small businesses can use to access affordable marketing and better manage their online operations.