Surprising statistics indicate, according to Google, that Internet searches are actually contributing to the bottom line of brick and mortar businesses around the globe. In fact, Google’s statistics suggest that the average American alone will spend some $2000 a year, contributing to some $500 Billion in annual sales at an offline marketplace after first researching the desired product or service via the World Wide Web.

How Many People Who Look Online Buy Offline?

It is estimated that this strategy, which I have occasionally favored, is used by approximately 97% of Americans. However, in my case, I buy from brick and mortar businesses only when it is cheaper, faster, or the business offers an incentive. In other words, when it comes to my personal choice of when and how to make a purchase, it all depends on what we are looking to purchase. For example, my family has taken advantage of Groupon deals. These deals are offered online by local businesses, for limited time periods, in an attempt to promote their products or services. In addition, we have also researched and/or ordered many online products through Walmart.com and, while some of these could have been shipped to our home, there have been many others that we had to purchase or pick up at our local Walmart store. In fact, this happened just this last week when I wanted to purchase a Samsung II Exhibit cellphone for the T-Mobile network. As I surfed the Internet to find the best deal, I discovered that, while Amazon wanted $198.00 for this particular phone, I could purchase the same cellphone at a brick and mortar Walmart store for $175.00. It was enough of an incentive to get me into my car and make the five-minute drive. However, my shopping preference, in most cases, is to buy using my Prime account from Amazon.

How Will the Internet Change by the Year 2016?

How Google Has Helped America's Brick and Mortar BusinessesSince the first domain was registered back in 1985, the Internet hasn’t stopped growing. In fact, it is predicted that, by the year 2016, the following additional changes will take place:

  • There will be three billion people using the Internet, which is about half of the entire world’s population.
  • The Internet economy will have expanded, with the G-20 countries ranking as the fifth largest economy in the world just behind the US, China, Japan, and India.
  • The expansion of the Internet could be the biggest global explosion in individual consumer and business wealth since the Industrial Revolution.
  • Mobile devices will account for about four out of five connections to broadband Internet services.

If one were to read into this last prediction, it could prove to be a death knell or, at least, a nail in the coffin of a dying PC market.

How Easy is It to Get Your Business Online?

So, as people scurry to find the most cost-effective means to market their products and services, how difficult is it to get your business set up with an online site? To address this issue, and to make it easier for consumers and businesses to get online, Google has set up a website in conjunction with a host of other businesses to get you up and running quickly. In fact, after studying what GYBO (Get Your Business Online) had to offer, I can see no reason why any business would be unable to get online, especially when made aware of how it could potentially help to increase foot traffic at a brick and mortar business.

Here is what GYBO has to offer for business owners:

  • Easy-to-follow instructions.
  • Free Web hosting.
  • A free custom-designed domain name.
  • Free training and free tools for you to use.

However, before you just dive in, you need to know some of the ins and outs of what is required in order to get these freebies. Here is some of what you will need to set up your free website:

  • You must either register for or have a Google account.
  • You must provide a valid credit card number. This is set up to identify who you are in case someone tries to pirate your domain name.
  • After the first year you will be charged $2 a month for the domain name and $4.99 a month for Web hosting.
  • Only the first 30 days includes free email support.

As I glanced through all of this information, I decided to see what percentage of businesses were not currently represented by an online presence. To do this, I went through the business directories, provided from a dozen different states, and was surprised to learn that over 50% of businesses have no Web presence. This truly amazed me, since one would think that any business in today’s economy, even the mom and pop variety, would recognize the importance of offering products online. In fact, it seems to me that not to have this presence tells consumers, albeit by omission, that the business doesn’t need them. Remember, especially in a larger town, these consumers may not even know that a business that chooses not to have a website even exists. If a business isn’t listed, it could very well lose the opportunity to make a sale or to provide a service.

I do understand that cost and training is always a concern, but if you own a business and you use GYBO, you should be able to market your product and perhaps increase your sales enough to afford the future cost.

Comments welcome.

Source: Google Blog

Source: bcg.perspectives

Source: GYBO

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by SEOPlanter