Toronto’s well-known neighbourhoods are teeming with energy and life, boasting an eclectic mix of shopping, culture and food that have put the city on the map. And, as the digital world changes the way consumers make decisions and purchases, the city’s businesses are adapting to optimize the potential of going online. This transition, however, poses a challenge for many small enterprises as they often aren’t sure how to get started.
That’s why we have partnered with the City of Toronto to launch Digital Main Street, a program that will help 40,000 Toronto businesses adopt the digital tools and technologies to help them grow. Digital Main Street is a platform that is free for main street businesses to join, helping them navigate the often confusing and overwhelming online universe by acting as a guide to all things digital.
Over the next few months we’ll be working with the city to offer programming that will help businesses amplify their online presence and reach more consumers from Canada and around the world. In fact, we started earlier this month with BIAcadamy, hosting 47 business improvement areas (BIA) at Google Canada and providing training so they can help businesses in their neighbourhoods get online and grow globally with Google tools, like Adwords, AdWords Express and Google My Business.
Last year, over half of the trillions of Google searches conducted globally happened on smartphones, and critical to the success of Toronto’s main street businesses will be capitalizing on this move to mobile. As part of the Digital Main Street program, we’re arming Toronto businesses with digital tools that will help them get in front of potential customers during key moments when they are searching for products and services close to home. Canadian search interest in “near me” has increased by 400% year-over-year. We know that these searches lead to sales. In fact, 74% of shopping conversions occur within one hour of the initial search.1 There’s unlimited potential for small businesses to take advantage of mobile tools to be present during these moments.
1 Google Canada Nielsen Mobile Search Moments, 2016
As a former startup ourselves, Google has a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation. We’re proud to be part of the Digital Main Street team and look forward to supporting Canadian entrepreneurs and helping our businesses grow.