Bricks & Clicks: How Digital Main Street Will Change & Aid Toronto Small Business

by Rob Sysak, June 16, 2016

To some retailers, the switch to an online presence and adoption of digital technology is an easy transition, especially since the recent wave of digital transformation has brought with it so many solutions to make doing business digitally that much easier. It certainly has opened up an entire arena of opportunities for any businessman, in terms of customer reach as well as sales. And due to the high-speed internet options available these days, it has become all the more convenient to make this transition or to learn how to go about doing it.

However, to many people, it seems like an impossible and time-consuming leap without a 21-year-old employee. There are so many social media platforms nowadays that businesses can feel a little overwhelmed as they decide which ones would best be suited for their marketing and visibility, that is why there is assistance out there from all over to support them as well as provide them with a good start online. For instance, if one of the platforms that they use is TikTok, then they may want to look into how they can buy TikTok followers to gain better engagement online, as well as see what other social media assistance they can use for the platforms linked to their business. But, with the increasing number of followers, they would also have to take care of their reputation online. Not all followers that come, have good intentions, and filtering the negative ones out is immensely important for any business, to rank better in the search results. The businesses starting to witness the negativity shouldn’t shy away from taking the help of a standard reputation management agency to secure their name and fame. With professional help, nothing is difficult.

That being said, this Monday morning’s breakfast at The Drake Hotel was so exciting: City of Toronto’s launch of Digital Main Street will be a program that aids small businesses in making online and digital transitions.

So how does Digital Main Street Work? It’s a simple program that essentially holds your hand the entire way while establishing the degree of your digital presence. The program adapts to how “digitally ready” a business is. Do you need a website? Here’s how to build one. How about placing a phone number and operating hours on Google? Sure thing. Need a Facebook page? Need to read your analytics? Not a problem, at all. With heavy-hitting sponsorship from Google, Shopify, Rogers, MasterCard, and YellowPages; it is truly an exciting time to take commerce into the digital realm.

One of the most important conversations of this morning was between Laura Bernhardson of Fresh Collective, Janet Wright of Floorplay Socks, and Raveen Gopaul of the Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre; discussing the trials and tribulations of transitioning into a digital realm-what worked, what failed, and how these changes have hugely helped both retail and NFP organizations.