Study Shows Consumer Attitudes on Small Business

The December 2012 “Website Attitudes” project, conducted on behalf of 1&1 Internet, was designed to develop a better understanding of how consumers view small businesses in comparison to larger, corporate stores. Administered online, 403 U.S. adults responded to questions focusing on perceptions of and attitudes toward small businesses vs. corporate stores, as well as the overall power of online visibility.

Consumers understand benefits, but have concerns

More consumers understand the need to help their local economy by shopping small—as one in three plan to utilize small businesses more than they currently do. But many are still cautious of the typically higher price points (39%), inconvenient hours (24%), and potential instability (22).

When compared to large stores, small businesses scored lowest in: 24/7 accessibility (7%), online visibility (5%) and online purchasing abilities (5%).

However, the need for quality customer service levels is best met by small companies when compared to larger, corporate stores (three out of four).

The importance of an effective online presence was evident through further research. Two of the most popular sources for learning about small businesses are search-engine searches (66%) and direct website (62%).

A desire to purchase from small businesses is clear, but a lack of online visibility may prevent them from obtaining these new customers.

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A stronger web presence can help fix many small business challenges

Five of the top areas that small businesses can improve in can be resolved with a strong presence on the web:

47% — Professionalism                                 

46% — Positive Reputation

42% — Online Purchasing Abilities                           

39% — Online Visibility

33% — 24/7 Accessibility

Consumers are beginning to rely more heavily on online marketing over traditional marketing to learn about new businesses:

66% — Search Engine Searches                                            

62% — Direct Website          

37% — Social Media                                      

23% — Online Directories