As we begin 2020, we can’t dismiss the fast-paced and ever-evolving business landscape. In fact, the companies that surge ahead of their competition are the ones that are quick to make decisions and act on them. However, these decisions require up-to-date knowledge and insights into future trends. Here are 10 small business trends for 2020 and beyond, that could give you a winning edge.
1. Increase in remote work
As the digital economy continues to evolve, we can expect to see an increasing percentage of people working remotely. This can be good news for small businesses. For starters, it brings down your overhead costs. Second, it saves time because employees don’t need to commute to work. This eliminates the possibility of arriving late. Also, on a more personal level, people who are allowed to work from home feel that they are trusted by the company. This, in turn, increases motivation, and by extension, productivity, and reduces stress. Given these pros, small businesses should consider this possibility. The rise of telecommunication is in turn, helping to improve effective communication strategies in such a work scenario.
2. The gig economy will grow
The market shows a rising trend towards the prevalence of freelance work and short-term contracts as opposed to permanent jobs. This is possibly due to the fact that people value the flexibility this offers. And it’s perfect for small businesses that may not be able to hire permanent employees. This, and the fact that they can tap into the best, relevant talent as and when the project requires. Technology has enabled such gig work to be the new normal for many people.
3. Technology will be increasingly leveraged
Digital technology levels the playing field for SMBs, allowing them to compete with larger businesses. With all the cool digital tools at their disposal, they can do much more! They can promote brand awareness, connect with customers, provide better customer experiences and obtain better insights into their campaigns. They also help you get more agile, apart from increasing your productivity. You could check out some of the top digital tools for businesses in 2020. Since most are free, there’s nothing stopping you from giving them a try!
4. A growing emphasis on personalized customer service
Today’s customer wants a personalized customer experience. No longer can businesses simply showcase their product and expect customers to make a choice – not when there are so many options available to them. You need to be able to cut through the noise and give them exactly what they want. Do this, and you’ll definitely score brownie points that translate to increased sales.
5. AI will not replace humans
We’ve been seeing numerous instances of AI assisting humans in delivering superlative customer experience. However, we can rest assured that we’re still very far from the rise of the machines. They will not replace, only help customer service staff to offer great service. Take, for instance, Zalia, an AI-powered hotel chatbot on a hotel website. Zalia guides customers and helps them make bookings, gives information, makes reservations, and answers their questions. She will enable you to speak to the hotel staff in case you have more complex queries. They act as co-workers, doing their best to provide customers with instant service.
6. User reviews will be the priority
Customers today begin their shopping journey with reading user reviews for the product they are interested in. They feel more comfortable purchasing a product that has been used and approved by others. Data from a survey by Fan & Fuel shows that 92% of customers hesitate to make a purchase if there are no customer reviews. Also, 35% say that one negative review can make them decide not to buy.
Most small businesses don’t have a budget large enough to cover extensive marketing efforts. This is why it becomes doubly important to focus on customer reviews. After all, when real people speak well of your product, others find your business and brand trustworthy. And this leads to increased sales. Hence, you need to make concentrated efforts in maintaining the high quality of your product and customer service.
7. The environment will be even more important
It’s the need of the hour, so it’s a good time to go green. People are now increasingly eco-conscious. Thereby, businesses too need to do their bit to use sustainable materials, reduce fuel usage, and so on. It is important, not just to be green, but also, to explain to people why it is important and how they can make a difference.
8. E-commerce will grow bigger and stronger
According to Statista, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to $3.53 trillion in 2019. The e-retail revenues are projected to grow to $6.54 trillion in 2022. These statistics are causing many retailers to move from their traditional brick-and-mortar storefronts to online outlets. Small businesses could take notice of this trend and stay ahead of the competition by improving their visibility and engagement with their audiences over social media, improve shipping and more.
9. The growth of influencer marketing
The age of mass media has seen the steady rise of influencer marketing. There’s been a shift from movie stars endorsing a product to micro-influencers on social media – people and handles with over a thousand to a million followers. Placing your product with them will ensure greater engagement with audiences. You could identify suitable micro-influencers to talk about your product or service using a good social media monitoring platform.
10. Voice will go far
Voice searches are taking over the traditional type-and-find in a big way. Alexa, Google Home, and Siri are just a few examples of voice recognition technology that have become vastly popular. Gartner reports that by 2020, almost one-third of web browsing will be voice-activated. By eliminating the need to use your hands and eyes to browse, the web experience can be extended to various activities like cooking, driving, walking, etc.
For businesses, this means that they should consider a ‘voice’ presence when forming strategies around building an online presence. Content should be voice optimized, not just keyword optimized because people use complete sentences in voice search. This would be the perfect time to adapt to new technologies, while it is still nascent.
These are the small business trends in 2020 that you should look out for this year, and prepare for. This would give your business a running start in this new decade.
At Them You & Me, we help in the digital transformation of businesses. If you’d like to discuss more about the small business trends to watch for in 2020, or have any questions, give us a call.
To know about what we do and the services we offer, please visit our website.