Greetings from the team at Merchant Advance Capital! Among the many merchants we work with – in all different industries, of many shapes and sizes – one of the things that gives us great confidence in our assessment of the stability and health of a business is an appraisal of their identity on the web. Did you know that, according to CIRA (the Canadian Internet Registration Authority) only 41.1% of small businesses display any kind of online presence? How does your business compare?
An attractive, informative website does more than just advertise your business and help you connect with customers. Continuity of information – between your homepage, online listings directories, information databases such as the Better Business Bureau, feedback-based social sites like Yelp and Facebook, and search engines – builds a strong sense of identity and legitimacy for you and your business online, making it harder for scammers or fraudulent users to pull one over on you or your customers and making sure your business stands out in the crowd.
Some other intriguing internet facts for Canadian business owners:
Self-identification as a Canadian business is important to consumers. Half of Canadians who expressed a preference said they prefer .CA over .COM for business use. 87 per cent of Internet users consider it “somewhat important,” or “very important” for Canadians to have .CA addresses.
The average Canadian visited 3,731 web pages per month last year, the highest in the world. Was one of them yours?
Videos may be the key to reaching your customers: Canadians watch the second-most hours of online video in the world, at a rate of almost 25 hours per month.
Small business websites needn’t be expensive or complicated to operate – there are a wide range of reputable, easy-to-use and highly professional web design providers out there, offering flexible plans for merchants that range from completely free (usually sacrificing a fully customized domain name) to handsomely featured, enterprise-ready systems including storage and email. Many businesses are increasingly directing their customers’ attention straight to social media, communicating primarily through media-rich avenues like Instagram: these show the customer exactly what a merchant is getting up to in real-time, along with having the appeal of a personalized and artistic touch.
No matter the style or complexity, the importance of web presence for business success, especially in a climate where consumers can easily compare and contrast to find the most attractive option for them, cannot be overlooked. Statistics now show that Canadians are some of the most active and discerning netizens in the world. Engagement and transparency, as well as promotion of your identity as a Canadian businessperson online, can help connect with this vast and inquisitive community.