JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Small businesses are missing out on revenue, loyalty and customer engagement opportunities by not extending face-to-face relationships with consumers into the web and social media, according to a national survey of 3,000 consumers and small business decision-makers commissioned in August by Web.com Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:WWWW).
Nearly 30 percent (850) of the respondents were small business decision-makers, allowing the survey to capture insights about the relationships between consumers and small businesses, as well as determine if small businesses are taking advantage of the web and social media to build connections with customers.
"Small businesses have historically relied on face-to-face relationships to grow and differentiate themselves, but today's consumers are demanding that these relationships extend into 'e-Main Street'," said David Brown, chairman and CEO of Web.com. "Our survey found a significant disconnect between how small businesses decision-makers think they are delivering on customers' expectations versus the reality of consumers' perceptions. The good news is small businesses are starting to realize the web's untapped potential to reach consumers who are eager for online engagement."
Following are the top five survey findings and implications for small businesses.
1. Consumers prefer to work with small businesses because of strong personal relationships.
2. Consumers expect small businesses to build strong "e-relationships" through the web and social media. Currently, the majority of small businesses are not delivering on these expectations.
3. The majority of small business decision-makers overestimate their web and social media capabilities compared to what consumers expect.
4. Small businesses that meet consumers' expectations for web, social media, and digital capabilities have a significant opportunity to improve their bottom line by driving sales, loyalty, and ongoing online and social engagement with their customers.
- Approximately 60 percent would likely: check out the business' website and social media to find out more about the business; recommend the business to family and friends; visit the physical store or office; and learn what other customers have to say about the business.
- Approximately half of consumers would likely: seriously consider the small business over larger companies or internet-based businesses; put the small business on their "short list" of favorites; and make a purchase.
5. While small businesses are starting to discover the untapped opportunity of expanding their web presence, there is more work to be done before these companies can realize the full potential of their online and social media capabilities.
"Small businesses may underestimate the importance of digital capabilities today, but are beginning to take advantage of available tools to close the gap," added Brown. "This survey underscores the significant opportunities to be gained by building a website and engaging with customers online."
*Online survey fielded by Toluna Research from August 9-15, 2013, with a ±2.25% to 2.74% margin of error at 95% confidence at the 3,000 "all respondent level" and a ±3.00% to 3.49% margin of error at 95% confidence for the 850 small business decision-makers.
Web.com Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:WWWW) provides a full range of Internet services to small businesses to help them compete and succeed online. Web.com is a global domain registrar and further meets the needs of small businesses anywhere along their lifecycle with affordable, subscription-based solutions including website design and management, search engine optimization, online marketing campaigns, local sales leads, social media, mobile products, eCommerce solutions and call center services. For more information, please visit www.web.com; follow Web.com on Twitter @webdotcom or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/web.com. For additional online marketing resources and small business networking, please visit Web.com's Small Business Forum.
Note to Editors: Web.com is a registered trademark of Web.com Group, Inc.