3 Major Gaps Where Caribbean Businesses Fail Digitally

Caribbean businesses are facing a significant challenge in the digital landscape, primarily due to their failure to of understanding the broad digital world beyond social media and learning how to produce meaningful content on the most impactful platforms. This issue has broad implications, affecting everything from local visibility in global markets to the efficiency of artificial intelligence tools that could benefit these businesses, to a lack of local E-Commerce and misinformation due to almost no investment into long form content to support their short form strategies on social media. Here’s a deeper look into the core issues and why it’s crucial for Caribbean enterprises to rethink their digital content strategies.

1. The Lack of a Searchable Web Presence

Many Caribbean businesses fail digitally because they do not have a website or fail to utilize them effectively. Websites are often static, rarely updated, and do not engage consumers with valuable content. This absence is detrimental because when potential customers seek information via search engines, they find content from international companies instead of local sources. This not only diverts business away from the region but also increases the risk of spreading misinformation or irrelevant information. The lack of a strong online presence in search engines creates a vacuum where local expertise and insights are vastly underrepresented. The online shopping experience locally is often a nightmare! When getting on the search engines to look for products, since businesses don’t have websites, have e-commerce or have done any form of Search Engine Optimization, you can never find the products you need locally and end up buying them from an international organization. I can hear people saying now, thats why we go on Facebook to find information.

Here are further problems with this in the Caribbean:

  1. Most businesses don’t even optimize their content and leverage the search capabilities on social media, instead opting to list almost all of their products in a caption, which ends up not being found when you are conducting a search on social media. I shop online 100% of the time, outside of Food, I don’t buy anything locally and to this day, I have never found any of the products I have bought via social media.
  2. You might make a post asking for recommendations and people will tag businesses or make suggestions. The businesses then don’t answer their messages and hardly even answer their phones when you call them to find out if they have what you are looking for, thus creating a negative shopping experience out of the gate.
  3. Privacy…There are lots of items people buy that they don’t want the public to know about or maybe they are buying gifts, and don’t want friends/family to know what is being bought. Due to privacy, they prefer not to make a post on social media, asking for assistance in locating an item.

2. The Overlooked Importance of Content Indexing in AI

As artificial intelligence becomes more integrated into everyday tools like ChatGPT or Google Gemini and even the new AI Search Engines, the content indexed by search engines becomes crucial. AI systems are trained on this content, and unfortunately, Caribbean businesses fail also because the content they post is predominantly on social media platforms, which aren’t indexed by these AI technologies or search engines. This oversight leads to a scenario where AI tools, increasingly used by consumers for information and assistance, lack data on Caribbean businesses, thus further invisibilizing them in the digital space.

3. The Shortcomings of Short-Form Content

Caribbean businesses heavily invest in short-form content on social media platforms, often neglecting the potential and necessity of long-form content. While short-form content can be engaging and is essential for capturing immediate attention, it typically lacks the depth needed for thorough understanding or decision-making. This type of content is akin to window shopping—it might pique interest but rarely leads to deeper engagement or conversion. On the other hand, long-form content, such as articles, blogs, podcasts, and YouTube videos, not only provides more comprehensive information but is also indexed by search engines. This indexing gives long-form content a longer shelf life, continually driving traffic, leads, and sales years after publication, unlike short-form content that quickly fades away due to the fast-paced nature of social media algorithms.

The Path Forward

To bridge the digital divide and enhance their competitiveness, Caribbean businesses need to prioritize establishing a robust web presence that includes regularly updated content that is both informative and engaging. Additionally, embracing a balanced content strategy that includes both short-form and long-form content will ensure that businesses capture immediate interest and provide deeper value, driving sustained engagement.

Moreover, by producing content that is indexable by search engines and AI tools, Caribbean businesses can ensure their visibility in an increasingly digital world. This strategy not only makes local businesses competitive but also ensures they are a part of the global conversation, potentially attracting not just local consumers but international audiences and opportunities as well.

Local businesses also forget that the Caribbean region is a leader in tourism, when the wider world comes to our shores, they are 95% guided by what research they have done online or what searches they do in real-time, failure to show up at the exact time when someone is conducting their searches just leads to loss of revenue. This is a figure we still don’t speak enough about to this day, the amount of revenue that is lost, simply because your business cannot be found online.

This shift is not just about keeping pace with global trends but about taking proactive steps to ensure the survival and growth of the Caribbean business ecosystem in the digital age. These are key areas where Caribbean Businesses fail digitally and need to address this immediately, in order to start putting in the right infrastructure, tools and strategies to build in the digital age.

For more content, check out the Digipreneur FM Podcast, also available in every podcast directory.

You can also follow me over on Instagram here —> Keron Rose IG.

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