Large businesses may have been the first to embrace ecommerce, but the needs of Gen Y – Canadians between the ages of 18 and 35 – are changing. Today, both Baby Boomers and Gen-Ys are committed to supporting Canadian small businesses. But the way they choose to interact with local companies are very different, according to new research from Rogers, commissioned by Harris Decima.
The majority of Canadians – over 85 per cent – agree that convenience and personal service are the most important reasons they support small businesses. But small businesses can also benefit from offering online services to their customers. More than half of Gen Y (60 per cent) feels that small businesses should operate an ecommerce site and are not currently active enough online, while under 35 per cent of Baby Boomers agree.
The survey reveals that understanding how your customers want to be engaged is essential to your business’s success. More than half of Canadians (51 per cent) would shop at small businesses more often if they offered more of their products and services online, while more than half of Gen Y (56 per cent) said they would shop at small businesses more if they were rewarded for their business with loyalty and incentive programs. Incorporating the right solutions and technology, innovative social media practices, loyalty programs and online marketing strategies can make your business more efficient, help you work from anywhere and enable you to engage with customers at any time.
We are launching national Small Business Month activities designed to give small businesses the tips, tools and technologies to get ahead. Starting in October, Rogers will host experts in social media, marketing and sales for Rogers Talks, a national series of breakfast events. Thought leaders will share ideas and actionable tips in Toronto, Kitchener/Waterloo, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver from Oct. 28 to Nov. 12. Small business owners and employees can register at www.rogers.com/RogersTalks.
Rogers is also giving Canadian small businesses the opportunity to upgrade their technology. Rogers Small Business Big Idea Giveaway, a national contest launched today, will award five prize packages worth over $20,000, including mobile devices from Rogers and BlackBerry. Owners of small businesses with up to 99 employees across Canada can enter by sharing how Rogers could give their business a competitive edge at www.rogers.com/bigidea before Oct. 5, 2013.
The new Rogers small business research report also found:
Pride, support for local economy and a personal shopping experience is important to all Canadians:
- More than half (64 per cent) of Canadians who shop at small businesses do so to support their local economy and for a personalized experience
- More than half (62 per cent) of Canadians feel a sense of pride when shopping at a small business
- The most frequent small business shoppers are over the age of 60 (58 per cent), reside in Atlantic Canada (55 per cent) and do not have children at home (50 per cent).
Baby Boomers are the largest supporters of local businesses, while Gen Y wants more personal and online interaction:
- Baby boomers are the greatest supporters of local business in Canada as almost two thirds (58 per cent) of Canadians over the age of 60 shop at small businesses at least once a week
- More than half (68 per cent) of Gen Y think it’s important for small businesses to offer a loyalty rewards program
- More than half (60 per cent) of Gen Y think it’s important for small businesses to offer an ecommerce website
- More than half (51 per cent) of Gen Y think small businesses should have a strong social media presence.
For more information about small business offerings from Rogers, or to find a Rogers Small Business Specialist in your region, visit www.rogers.com/smallbusiness.
Lauren is a regular contributor to Redboard Biz