Snowed In, but Not Under

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There’s a report out today that says the mammoth snows that have been crippling wide swaths of the country have been having a serious impact on retail and restaurant sales, as people hunker indoors and don’t go out and spend.

And while Ben Bernanke may be blaming Mother Nature for his problems, the rest of us know that people haven’t stopped living, and by definition, it means they’re still buying, somewhere. If they’re not going to the store, it means they’re doing it online. And that points out the absolute necessity for any serious business to have its act together for people buying from their computers and mobile devices.

Take a look at your business: is your website optimized for search, and does it come up at or near the top of a Google results? Do you have buyer-friendly way to purchase on your website? Do you have a mobile site that displays properly on handheld devices? (In my experience, there’s no faster way to discourage mobile purchases than driving people to a site that’s not optimized for handhelds; webpages don’t display properly, take too much time to load and are typically clunky on a 2-inch-screen)

Do you allow people to pay through paypal and other widely accepted digital methods? How’s your facebook page? Are you active on social media and engaged in the conversations that are happening among your customers and within your industry or niche?

Mashable has a great list of resources for small businesses that tackle many of these issues.

I’m not saying the corner grocery store needs a mobile site to sell milk (even though big chains like Stop&Shop have online ordering sites and free same-day delivery). But if you’re a small business looking to capture an audience stuck in their houses and in front of their computers, make sure your online presence is robust and ready. Because it’s only February, and there’s plenty of winter left.