Pandemic Year Two: Finding Customers Online Tops List of Small Business Priorities

Pandemic Bus Dev't

Apr 27, 2021

Small business owners say their online presence (51%) and selling online (38%) has been essential to their survival through the pandemic. As a result, connecting with customers online is the top focus for small businesses in 2021, along with paying down debt and improving their websites, shows new research conducted by Maru/Matchbox on behalf of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and Google Canada.

Canadians will be able to shop from many of these businesses online even after the pandemic ends — half (48%) of all business owners say they plan to sell online post-pandemic. Only 2% of businesses are going to turn away from selling online after lockdowns and social distancing restrictions end. 

“Small businesses have adapted to new ways of reaching customers and selling their products over the last year, and it looks like the digital strategies they are adopting will be permanent,” said Mandy D’Autremont, CFIB’s Senior Director, Member Experience and Strategy. “Still, it can be hard to make a digital strategy succeed when you are competing with giant corporations with digital marketing departments and big advertising spends.” 

While only one in four small businesses that will be selling online post-pandemic say the driving force for them to continue with eCommerce is because it has been a success for them already, the top reasons to sell online post-pandemic are about potential revenue growth and enhancing competitiveness. The main challenge these businesses are facing is attracting customers online (40%), so they are looking for advice on how to elevate their online presence, as well as improve their social and digital marketing. 

To help small businesses reach customers online, Google is launching an all-new version of Grow My Store, a free tool that improves a website’s customer experience. Businesses can request their free Grow My Store report, which will assess their site performance, discover how it compares to fellow retailers in their industry, and provide tailored advice on where they can improve.

“Building an online presence helps Canadian small businesses reach customers beyond their local communities, allowing them to compete in the global economy,” says Karen Godwin, Director Google Customer Solutions, Google Canada. “As websites become the flagship store for many businesses, Grow My Store is a free tool that will help Canadian small businesses find and attract new customers online, and provide them with personalized recommendations to improve their experience for customers.” 

Read CFIB’s full research backgrounder, Small Business Prioritizing Digital in 2021, for more information.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Related Articles


Changing Scene

  • Sonepar Acquires PEPCO

    Sonepar Acquires PEPCO

    September 30, 2022 Sonepar announced that its U.S. subsidiary has entered into an agreement to acquire Professional Electric Products Co., Inc. (dba “PEPCO”). With a strong presence in the state of Ohio, this acquisition offers Sonepar the opportunity to expand in the 6th largest electrical distribution market in the U.S. A family-owned business headquartered in Eastlake, Ohio, since… Read More…

  • Sonepar to Acquire Basin-River Electrical Supply

    Sonepar to Acquire Basin-River Electrical Supply

    September 30, 2022 Sonepar announced Tuesday of this week that its U.S. subsidiary has entered into an agreement to acquire Basin-River Electrical Supply LLC. This acquisition allows Sonepar to grow its business in the Plaquemine, Louisiana, market. A family-owned business since 1981, Basin-River’s branch location will be integrated into Sonepar’s Crawford Electric brand at closing. … Read More…


Peers & Profiles

  • Schneider Electric, a leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, is Canada’s top international corporate citizen in 2022. This designation was awarded to Schneider Electric by Corporate Knights, a media and research company committed to advancing a sustainable economy. Read More…

  • The Sonepar Ontario Region is proud to announce the relocation of their SESCO Central Distribution Centre (CDC) to its new location in Brampton, ON. This move has facilitated an amalgamation between Texcan’s large Brampton branch and SESCO’s CDC, as both businesses work together within one facility for the first time. Read More…