Growth is essential when you run a small business. Companies that fail to move with the times risk stagnating, losing customers, and being forced to close their doors prematurely. Not every emerging trend will impact your business specifically. But since most are attached to customer expectations in one way or another, staying informed just makes good business sense.
Here are 5 of the top small business trends you should watch out for in 2020.
Customer Service Continues to Get Up Front and Personal
More than ever, busy customers need help identifying the products or services most likely to fit their needs. Providing buying suggestions based on earlier purchases is one great way to personalize your customer service.
If yours is a brick and mortar business, you can customize the buying experience by switching to an advanced POS system with built-in CRM (customer relationship management) features.
And if you also sell online, you’ll be happy to know that research shows customers are significantly more likely to add additional items to their carts – and spend 40% more than they’d planned – when their shopping experience is highly personalized.
Story-Telling: The Newest Evolution in Social Media
One of the biggest challenges of social media is getting seen by your audience. So the recent emergence of story-telling has many businesses incorporating bite-sized, livestreaming videos into their marketing strategies.
Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook Stories, for example, are short, in-the-moment videos that represent a small snippet of real life.
They’re especially effective for:
- evoking strong emotion in a short period of time,
- connecting authentically with your audience, and
- improving your company’s visibility
You can leverage this trend by adding social media story-telling to your regular news feed posts.
5G is Coming to Canada
Both Rogers and Telus are rolling out 5G networks in Canada in 2020. And this super high-speed technology promises super big shifts in the way we all do business:
- Virtually instantaneous connections are expected to open up new avenues of customer communication.
- Business teams will be able to stay connected with greater speed and efficiency.
- Increased download speeds will take consumer video consumption to new levels.
5G may not impact your business today, but given its connection to augmented and virtual reality and the Internet of things, it’s a trend that’s worth keeping your eye on.
Sustainability is No Longer a Choice for Long-Term Business Success
Tomorrow’s customers won’t just continue to buy from businesses that reflect their personal values, they’ll be willing to pay more for the privilege.
Consider making 2020 the year you switch to more sustainable and socially responsible business practices like:
- reducing or switching to recyclable packaging materials,
- working with more “green” suppliers, and
- sourcing more supplies locally
Taking small, incremental steps toward greater sustainability will help you expand your customer base and your profitability going forward.
Even Greater Focus on Employee Well-Being and Ways of Working
Many business owners are recognizing the importance of cultivating a more robust work environment. And that’s why trends like remote working, flex hours, and gig and freelance contracts are full-speed ahead in 2020.
With Canadian companies working harder than ever to recruit and retain talent, hiring freelancers or short-term gig specialists may be the right move if your business:
- is having trouble finding the right candidate for the job,
- needs temporary help from an expert, or
- isn’t financially ready to hire permanent or full-time employees
Encouraging your regular staff to work remotely more often when possible, meanwhile, won’t just improve their work-life balance – it will bump up productivity, and can help you lower the costs associated with physical workspace, equipment, and infrastructure.
To stay on top of what’s trending in 2020, check out our list of 7 great resources for keeping your business up to date.