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Department of Consumer and Design Sciences College of Human Sciences SMALL BUSINESS RESEARCH 308 Spidle Hall 261 Mell Street Auburn University Auburn,

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Presentation on theme: "Department of Consumer and Design Sciences College of Human Sciences SMALL BUSINESS RESEARCH 308 Spidle Hall 261 Mell Street Auburn University Auburn,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Department of Consumer and Design Sciences College of Human Sciences SMALL BUSINESS RESEARCH 308 Spidle Hall 261 Mell Street Auburn University Auburn, Alabama phone fax ABOUT Beginning in 2010, small business research has been a new area of research for CADS faculty. This research consists of such topics as the use of e-commerce, social networking, and experiential marketing strategies among Alabama’s rural small businesses. This research has funded by Auburn University, Office of Research and Outreach. GRANTS 2012 Auburn University Outreach Scholarship Grant, Office of University Outreach 2011 Auburn University Intramural Grant Program, Office of Research 2011 Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC) 2010 Auburn University Intramural Grant Program, Office of Research

2 SMALL BUSINESS RESARCH TOPICS E-commerce Social Networking Experiential Marketing SMALL BUSINESS RESEARCH To promote rural entrepreneurship in Alabama RESEARCHERS Sang-Eun Byun Associate professor Hye Jeong Kim Assistant professor Carol Centrallo Associate professor USE OF WEBSITE AND E- COMMERCE AMONG RURAL SMALL BUSINESES E-commerce is becoming a critical part of today’s competitive retailing environment. However, despite the advantages of the online sales channel, the adoption of e-commerce among small businesses remains limited. Particularly, the South including Alabama has been the slowest region to adopt e-commerce in the U.S. Alabama’s Black Belt includes 18 counties, which are among the poorest in the U.S. Limited educational opportunities have resulted in the nation’s highest unemployment rate and exclusion from the major economic processes in that region. Given the importance of the Internet as a vehicle for conducting business, small businesses in Alabama’s Black Belt counties need to become more aware of opportunities the Internet provides to create and grow a business. Therefore, this project aims to: investigate how small businesses in Alabama including Black Belt region utilize a website and e-commerce and the factors that contribute to the adoption of e- commerce among those businesses. develop educational programs to assist small businesses in utilizing a website and e-commerce. SOCIAL NETWORKING FOR RURAL SMALL BUSINSES RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT A small business social network refers to a group of businesses that join forces to share resources, information, and support, to improve their competitiveness in the market place. Social networking provides a means for businesses to improve customer relationships, build community, and create feedback regarding their products and services. According to the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC), networks and collaborations are crucial to small business development in rural areas. Additionally, rural small businesses typically have fewer networking opportunities than urban or suburban counterparts. As a result, limited opportunities exist to find a soundboard for ideas and few interactions with other small businesses are possible to learn innovative strategies. Therefore, a social network will allow small businesses to share information and obtain advice, which will help them to build relationships with other small businesses as well as their consumers and community. Therefore, this project aims to: identify business-related factors and business owner characteristics that will influence the intent to participate in a virtual community support network for knowledge development and exchange. develop a virtual community support social network for small businesses. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE CREATION FOR RURAL SMALL BUSINESSES The U.S. has progressed from an individual economy to an experience economy in that creation of positive and innovative customer experiences increases competition and economic growth. Today’s consumers are surrounded by abundant choices. Simply buying products and services is not the customer’s only concern. Beyond simple delivery of quality products and services, successful businesses around the globe now work to create distinctive, engaging, and memorable customer experiences. To succeed in an experience economy, businesses must employ the 4E strategies including Entertainment, Education, Escapist, and Esthetics, to create a positive and innovative customer experience. Despite the importance of the experiential marketing, rural small businesses may not realize the benefits of the marketing strategies. Therefore, this project aims to: explore the awareness and perceptions of rural small businesses’ owners and managers regarding experiential marketing strategies and the value of creating positive customer experience, focusing on store visual communications. develop an education model to demonstrate the importance to rural small businesses of effective visual communications. develop a social network site to provide small business with a venue for knowledge exchange and communications.


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