Local Business: Beware of Today’s 7 yr olds

My 7 year old, who is in the beginning stages or learning to read, seems to be able to use the computer and the internet without a problem. Whether it’s images on Google or online video games, his inability to read well hasn’t slowed him down.

Nevertheless, he knows how to sound things out and occasionally I’ll walk by when he’s doing a Google search. Sometimes his searches are amusing, but most of the time I’m amazed at what he knows how to do.

Yesterday I noticed him looking at pictures of Nerf rifles. In the search box he’d typed “Toy Nerf rifle to buy at a store”.  Later I saw he’d changed that to read “cool toys for 7 year old boys”. And sometime early last week I noticed in the search history that he’d searched for “grocery stores with toys for kids”.

He’s 7.

He doesn’t think about the toy catalog from Sears. He doesn’t watch Saturday morning cartoons so he doesn’t see those commercials. And he doesn’t get comic books or magazines by mail. Nope. He knows everything he wants to buy can be found on the internet.

Picture him 10 years down the road. . . when he has a car, a job, money and actual needs.  Where do you think he’ll turn to find things? The internet is now innate to his learning.

So if you’re a local business who is looking to compete down the road, consider what today’s 7 year olds are searching for on the internet. Since Google does a pretty good job of retrieving local results in their search listings,  you’ll have a small upper-hand over the competition.

But don’t think for a second that upper-hand will get you on page one without some strategy. If you’re a local department store, keep in mind he didn’t search for “Department Store” when he was looking for Nerf Rifles. That should get you thinking about the keywords you’re targeting.

In the future, I predict businesses with one website will be a thing of the past. If you sell multiple items, it will make much better sense to have separate websites for the different departments. If you have a “toy” section, why bury that information three layers deep on your website when you could have an entire website dedicated to your “toy department”?

Take lessons from today’s youth because tomorrow they’ll be your customers. (If they can find you, that is).

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