Small businesses are always looking ahead to the future, so if you are a small business owner the chances are that you have already researched upcoming trends for 2020 and prepared for investments in them where necessary. However, with new technologies constantly hitting the market, small businesses must adapt to ever-changing industries and landscapes, leaving some uncertainties as to how they will fare with each coming year. Unfortunately, those small businesses that fail to take advantage of emerging marketing channels and technology often fail to have the competitive edge needed to compete on a global scale.
Small businesses are continuing to grow, with 53% in the past year reporting an increase in revenue according to Direct Line. However, this growth doesn’t come without fluctuation, as 1.6 million small businesses report a doubling or halving of revenue in certain months of the year. This article looks at some of the expert predictions for how the business world could change or evolve in 2020, and what this might mean for small businesses. Knowing what the future might hold gives you the power to get prepared and stay ahead of the game.
Success for those who emphasis customer experience
As small businesses have to compete with huge corporations like Amazon, it is increasingly important that they embrace their USP of personability. It is becoming impossible for small businesses to compete with the extreme convenience of the service offered by large corporations, such as same-day delivery. However, one thing that corporations can never emulate authentically is the personality, locality and genuine customer connection at the core of small businesses.
Many larger corporations are attempting to use AI to shape their customer experience, especially customer service. However, this is no replacement for human workers, and it would be a mistake for small businesses to follow in these footsteps and lose the genuine connection at the heart of their industries. Most customers don’t want to talk to a chatbot. They want to talk to a human being who understands the product or service, and human emotions.
One thing small businesses can take from the larger corporation customer experience in 2020 is customisation. Amazon is continuing to enhance their offering by using customised product suggestions that appear to read the browsing customer’s mind. Your Amazon homepage is entirely customised to what you like to buy and browse, making it the one-stop-shop for all your needs. Small businesses should look to emulate this style of customisation, tailoring what each customer sees with smart personalisation engines.
The power of reviews
Over recent years, user reviews have begun to shape and inform every purchase we make. With such a wide range of competing products available on the market, user reviews have become customers’ go-to way to find out which product is best for them. When we read, or hear about someone else’s experiences with a product, we naturally feel more comfortable buying it. According to a report by Fan & Fuel, 92% of people are hesitant to buy products that have no reviews. Adding real customer reviews to your product pages online can make a huge difference in appealing to customers, and is a low-budget yet effective method of marketing in 2020.
Tapping into freelance resources
Hiring permanent employees is a large expense for small businesses, not only due to the ongoing salary, but the resources funnelled into hiring the right employees too. Freelance and remote work is becoming increasingly more common, as businesses get to save money on hiring and workers enjoy the added flexibility. Technology will continue to make this a super-efficient option for small businesses to take advantage of in 2020, with so many team messaging and video conferencing apps to choose from.
Employee wellness and happiness should be a priority
As more research is being done into how employee wellness, physical health and mental health affects the overall success and efficiency of a business, small businesses are becoming leaders in shaping a healthy and balanced employee experience. Creating an environment where employees feel appreciated for their contributions and are an important part in the running of the business, leads to employees that feel happy in their work and more passionate about the goals of the business. The happiness of employees has a direct correlation with their productivity, which is why so many start-ups are fitting their offices with ping-pong tables, social areas and de-stress zones. When employees are happy to work for you it will help you attract the best talent.
Bearing in mind these current trends in business for 2020, it seems that small businesses will fare best by embracing what makes them different to the large corporations they are increasingly having to compete with.