What’s to keep your corner store competitive these days, when there’s Whole Foods everywhere and Soap.com ads plastered all over the subway? A new report suggests New York’s mom-and-pop stores must embrace technology, the great panacea of our age, if they’re to remain competitive.
WYNC covers the latest report from the Center for Urban Future, released today and titled “Smarter Small Businesses.” The report argues that small business are suffering from a technology gap, and they’ve got to get up to speed. The numbers break out like so: 90 percent of the businesses in the city have 20 employees or less. But, according to the report, less than 20 percent are “effectively capitalizing on technology.”
That’s a pretty fuzzy metric, but think about how rarely you see a website for, let’s say, that tailor/dry cleaner down the block.
Small businesses like these are “10 or 15 years behind,” said David Meade, executive director of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation, in the report. “[Lack of technology] doesn’t necessarily impact the client base they have already built up. But it impacts their ability to develop new clientele, and to get their world out there more,” he said.
The report recommends that small businesses adopt “Google Ads, digital payroll programs and customer management software.”
However, the business owners themselves aren’t so sure. WNYC talked to a couple running a corner store in Carroll Gardens, and they said technology is the least of their worries. Their problem is the closure of the subway station at Smith and 9th for repairs:
“It’s just me and him. We write down our inventory. We ring people up like that,” Amani Zeidan said, pointing to a manual cash register. “The problem is the train station,” her husband chimed in. “When it reopens, business will come back to life.”
We’re sorry to say that there’s probably not an app for that.