Small Business Search Ranking May Hurt Holiday Sales

By David Mielach Features BusinessNewsDaily

Shoppers will be avoiding long lines at the mall and turning to online shopping this holiday season.  New research finds that more than three-quarters of shoppers say they will be shopping online this holiday season. 

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Shoppers between ages 18 and 34 will be leading the charge in online shopping. Ninety percent of people in that age group say they will shop online during the holidays. Older shoppers will also be turning to online shopping for their holiday gifts.  Forty-eight percent of shoppers over age 65 say they will shop online this holiday season. 

Online shoppers, however, are causing some problems for small businesses. Sixty percent of online shoppers say they will be buying their gifts from larger retailers when they shop.  The research findings suggest this is because two-thirds of shoppers do not look beyond the first two pages of online search results when shopping online.

"It’s a major problem for a lot of small businesses," said Jay Bean, founder of OrangeSoda, a search engine optimization and online marketing firm. "Competing with the Amazons of the world makes it critical for small businesses to be found quickly online."

There are, however, some groups that will be bucking the trends this holiday season. In particular, shoppers with an annual income of more than $100,000 and shoppers without children both said they were more likely to do their holiday shopping at smaller stores.

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Megan Kavanaugh, executive director of Bags & Bows, a retail packaging firm says small businesses can help themselves this holiday season by catering to the needs of customers.  "Many shoppers prefer smaller businesses because they can cater to the needs of individuals in ways that major retailers simply cannot," Kavanaugh said.

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The research was based on a nationwide survey of 1,032 adults. It was conducted by Deluxe Corp., which offers checks, forms and website development to businesses.  

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