When was the last time you used a phone book to find a business? For most people, it's probably been years. Businesses now need an online presence to succeed in today's world. And according to Google, Sioux Falls businesses have that figured out.
The state's largest city has been named one of the new digital capitals of the U.S.
At the age of 24, Chelsea Pickner has already been in business for five years. She recently moved her clothing store, Chelsea's Boutique, from Chamberlain to Sioux Falls. She says her brick-and-mortar store complements her e-commerce website.
"Women like to try things on and make sure they fit well and you can't do that with an online site. But if you have it for people to see, then they can actually come in and see what you have," Pickner said.
Maybe it's because of her age that she realizes she must first meet her customers where they are: online.
"Sioux Falls is also good for young people and business and those two go hand-in-hand. We're all about the internet and being online and those two mix together and go well," Pickner said.
Pickner promotes her business on every online avenue available.
"I have a blog and an Instagram. Every time we write a blog, we link things to our Instagram; people are on Instagram, so they see that. That links them to our blog, which gets them to our website, which brings them in here. It's all about getting on the computer and getting out there as much as you can to get them into your store and on your website," Pickner said.
Google and an independent research firm analyzed the online strength of 51 small businesses in Sioux Falls.
Pickner has shipped her merchandise to every state in the U.S. through her website and is looking to expand internationally.
Another factor that Google looked at when naming its "eCities" is the likelihood of small businesses to have a mobile app. Pickner says she's in the process of developing one for her boutique.