We talk so much in the search marketing industry about how the Web can level the playing field for small businesses … and how it opens the door for local businesses to reach out and attract new customers anywhere in the world … and how it can help a small business position itself just a click away from bigger competitors. All of that is true — sometimes.
But not always. Amidst all that talk you’ll occasionally find stories where the Web is the enemy. Our local newspaper had one such story today, about a local comics, cards, and games shop closing its doors, and in the process, leaving a lot of kids without a place to hang out after school with friends. They say the Web is a big part of the problem.
Children just don’t buy comics anymore, John said. Even fewer buy sports cards. And locally owned stores cannot compete with retail giants or the Internet for sales of collectible game cards like Pokemon or Magic the Gathering.
“The major contributor is the Internet,” Steve said. “All small businesses really cannot compete with online Internet stores.”
Shoppers are lazy and just want to look for a deal. Though Steve said he is “more friendly than a computer screen,” customers have left to go online.
I think the kneejerk reaction would be something like, Hey, if you can’t adapt, you won’t survive. But since the Internet is a game-changer, it only makes sense that some will win and some won’t. Small bookstores are struggling to deal with the Web and plenty of independent music stores are going out of business, too.
It’s a reminder that every silver lining is attached to a cloud….