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Small business trends in 2020

As a business owner, keeping up with the hottest small business trends in 2020 is important to grow your business. It is unlikely that each trend will have a direct effect on your business as what you do is unique. But, awareness of any major developments that could impact the behaviour of your customers is essential. It will put you ahead of the competition and provide time to plan for potential growth or decline in business.

To give you the best chance of success we dive into the small business trends to keep an eye on.

1. Customer reviews

In our blog post ‘Social listening: know your customers’ we broke down what, why, and how to conduct social listening. To sum up, Social media is a valuable source of insight to understand how your customers are feeling. In research conducted by Smart insights, 90% of social media users have taken to social to communicate with a business and 63% of those expect social media support.

Think about it, when you want to complain about a bad experience, where do you go? In the past, you picked up the phone, wrote to a newspaper, or chatted about your experience to your mates down the pub. Ultimately, you made an effort to inform other people to either stay clear of a business or use one.

Nowadays, you hop on to social media or even Google search, seek out the company profile and post a comment. As a small business owner, you must have this possibility top of mind at every interaction with the customer; online reviews can make or break a business.

How to apply this small business trend

Reviews are nothing new, but the channels customers now use are more accessible than ever before to potential customers.

  • Be present. Be findable. Get your business onto sites like Google, Facebook, or Twitter and provide your customers with the opportunity to leave reviews. Bad reviews may put off a few potential customers but the good ones will definitely increase the business you bring in.
  • Give them a reason. Provide great customer service and if you have a happy customer, ask them to make a comment.

2. Social responsibility

The next small business trend in 2020 is Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. From companies such as Atlassian, Amazon, and Microsoft making climate change pledges through to Woolworth’s effort to source Australian owned and grown fresh produce, large organisations are demonstrating that they are working for more than profit.

But why? Millennials make up the largest portion of the workforce today — and they’re worth $1 trillion in consumer spending, according to the report ‘How Millennials want to work and live’ by global consulting firm Gallup.

Millennials, more than any other generation, are purpose-driven individuals who desire meaning from where they work and shop. This is especially true when it comes to environmental sustainability. They expect their employers to be socially responsible and have a higher purpose.

How to apply this small business trend

  • Stop and think before you announce. If you feel you have the ability to become a more socially responsible business owner, then before jumping in and telling the world that you’re planning to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, consider whether that message fits with your customer base.
  • Other options. Perhaps you could use locally sourced materials or begin to sell a range of ethically produced products – there are a number of ways you can demonstrate you are a socially responsible business without creating disgruntled customers and breaking the bank.

3. Mobile-first marketing

Mobile is an increasingly popular channel for people to find products and services they want to buy. In 2019, mobile accounted for 50.71% of searches with desktop dropping to 45%. The way in which a consumer can use their mobile is close to limitless. Movies, shopping, social media, gaming, video calls, the list goes on. Mobile devices have reshaped our society changing behaviours in business and personal lifestyle.

This change in lifestyle has transformed the way consumers shop – particularly when they are researching for their next purchase. This has been further exploited by social media apps allowing users to find a business, check out reviews and click the buy now button all in a few minutes.

How to apply this small business trend

  • Digital advertising. If you have delved into digital advertising across Google, Bing or even Yahoo, then make use of localised, mobile-first targeting. Using these platforms, you can deliver adverts to people searching for products/services at certain locations and on mobile, PC, or tablet. If you would like some more information on digital marketing with Google, please see free courses here.
  • Text messaging or SMS outreach. SMS can be a powerful medium to promote your latest offers, discounts, or updates but make sure to confirm this with customers before sending any communication.
  • A mobile-friendly website. Your website is your online shopfront, so make it easy to navigate using mobile – you don’t want 50% of visitors to have a bad experience.

4. The story is taking over social

Have you ever clicked on the Stories feature on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat? If not, you will do soon. As social platforms are becoming increasingly geared towards advertising as a tool to fill a user’s timeline, standard posts are declining in reach. Mark Zuckerberg (Mr Facebook) has said that Facebook is actively reducing content posted by businesses to make the timeline a place for meaningful interaction with friends and social circles.

Gone are the days of reaching your entire following with a simple written update.

Luckily for small businesses, whenever social platforms create a new feature, they provide incentives with higher reach and cheaper advertising rates. For example, Facebook or Instagram stories are significantly cheaper to advertise on when compared to sponsored posts in a timeline. Plus, they’ve created some handy tools, so even if you have a tiny budget you can create visually compelling ads.

How to apply this small business trend

Stories provide another opportunity to reach your audience in a way that is both spontaneous and authentic. They are a great tactic to gain visibility and engagement.

  • Start creating and experimenting with stories. Oberlo has a fantastic step by step guide on how to create Facebook stories – get that here – and it even outlines how to use the creative features.
  • Share Behind-the-scenes Footage. If you’re a baker, share a story about how to make the best fresh bread or if you’re a florist, share the process of making a bouquet of flowers. Give people a sneak peek into your day.
  • Provide offers. Unveil exclusive offers to your story audience. A great tool stories provide is the feeling of urgency. Your post is only up for 24 hours, so customers take you up on the offer or lose it forever – a great way to create the fear of missing out!

To finish

In order to be successful, business owners need to react to changes in customer behaviour, adjusting their offering to meet ever-changing needs and demands. Small business trends require attention and if you want customers to choose your offering over another, then you must understand how they think and feel.

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