Throwing out the spectrum of eCommerce or online only businesses, we come to a very interesting question that arises in my field of work from time to time.
I was talking with a lady the other day who runs a small bakery in town. She has a website but says it’s useless to her and Facebook has been the driving factor for much of her business growth. She also has more business than she can handle at the moment and none it has come from the large amount she spent on the site. (Actually, it’s a very small amount).
After finding out I build websites for a living, she raised a question that I’ve never been asked so blatantly before. “So, are websites going out?”
Let me address this.
B). Yes. For some.
Businesses like hers will likely never fully utilize a website because they don’t need it. They could, but it would be a waste of resources due to the nature of their business.
Larger companies, however, would be lost without them. Running everything from customer accounts to billing to sales, technical support and contact information, we’d be irritated beyond measure if they disappeared. And they won’t. The Connection Economy will not allow that link to go away.
But, back to small local businesses. If a remarkable product is created, superior customer service is offered and the story that customers tell themselves and their friends are all in sync, a small business has little to no need for a website. It could utilize one by allowing email signups or showcasing hours and testimonies, but it wouldn’t be completely necessary. And since we looking for necessary, the answer is: No. Small businesses do not need a website to survive and thrive.
One thing to note about this is that I’m not advocating for people to stop building them. I am advocating for a brand analysis to be conducted first before any resources are put into any form of marketing. This can help a small business determine what is truly needed and of benefit. If you need it, I’m here for you.