Updated: Mar 9, 2021
By Cecilia Lazzaro Blasbalg
Although small businesses are facing some of their biggest challenges in recent times, many are also learning how to re-engage with their customers and adapt to new demands in the marketplace.
As a result, business owners are beginning to explore more of their industry’s trends to assist them in planning for the future and create new opportunities, from making a website that meets customers’ needs better, to taking up ecological and societal responsibilities.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of eight emerging small business trends to watch in 2021 to understand where your clients’ interests lie, and remain ahead of the curve.
8 top small business trends of 2021
Shifting toward eCommerce
Using mobile marketing
Rolling out your app
Personalizing customer service
Rise of remote work
Growing an online community
Promoting data transparency
Being eco-friendly and socially responsible
01. Shifting toward eCommerce
In the past years, there’s been a steady shift of brick and mortar stores taking their businesses and services online and launching successful eCommerce websites. Under the current climate, most small businesses are looking to eCommerce to create new opportunities through selling their merchandise online, either as their main source of income or in congruence with additional practices.
If you’re a business owner and want to bring your traditional line of work online, you may find that opening an eCommerce store can actually improve your operations in ways you hadn’t thought were possible.
Say you have a brick and mortar shop and are ready to expand your brand beyond what you produce yourself. You can do so by adding dropshipping to your online store, which helps you sell merchandise without paying for inventory. Using print-on-demand, items will be created on the spot only after they’ve been ordered.
Take New Jersey entrepreneur and Wix user RanD Pitts’ personal testimony as one of several success stories about transitioning into eCommerce. “I went from selling to my town to selling nationwide in one week,” he said of his men’s fashion boutique, Evolve, which saw a significant increase in sales following the move.
If you start an online store with Wix, you’ll discover many great eCommerce tools to help you set up a variety of specialized services. Its many advanced features include dropshipping, managing orders and payments, using data-driven insights to monitor performance and more.
02. Using mobile marketing
Mobile marketing is one of the biggest small business trends to take over the global stage with no indication of slowing down. It means marketing your business to your mobile user audience by reaching them via their smartphones or tablets. After all, as smartphone ownership continues to grow rapidly around the world - with an estimated five billion people carrying mobile devices - the most direct channel to your audience is very likely through their phone.
Apart from crafting a great mobile website that caters to users on-the-go, there are a number of ways to take advantage of mobile marketing for your small business. For example, you can keep your customers up-to-date by sending text messages of your latest promotion with consent.
You can also use geo-targeting to reach out to potential clients who are in your area using Google ads, which allows advertisers to target mobile users in specific geographical locations.
03. Rolling out your app
More people are using their mobile devices to conduct daily transactions than ever before, from doing groceries to booking fitness classes. As a result, it might be time to pair your small business website with a mobile app of your very own.
With a designated app, you can manage your business at fingers’ reach. Your customers can book services, purchase products and stay connected via chat, groups or a forum on the go. You can also up your marketing strategy by sending mobile push notifications from your app.
Create a mobile community with your app and invite customers to become members to better engage with your business and stay up to date with your latest offerings.
04. Personalizing customer service
In 2021, it’s more important than ever to clearly define your target market and know more about your audience. Through understanding your customers’ behavior you’ll be better equipped to market your business or brand directly to them. Personalized customer service is about adapting services to the specific needs and wants of each of your clients.
People today do not want to be bombarded with too many options and prefer a personal touch instead, expecting more businesses to know precisely what they want. By taking a couple of simple steps, your business can offer personalized service, thus strengthening your customer engagement. We know that fully engaged customers are 23% more likely than average customers to spend with your business, which may also help increase your long-term profit.
One way to learn more about your customers is through developing a buyer persona to gather some invaluable data about who your clients are. Explore web analytics tools such as Google Analytics for gathering insights about your visitors, including the number of people to your site, how they got to there (i.e. search engine, social media, or other), which products are top sellers and what’s driving users’ purchase decisions.
Using the knowledge you’ve gathered, track strategic points as your customer navigates your site and tailor their personal experience using marketing automation, which is a platform to enable the automation of marketing tasks and better customize them for your clients. For example, you can set up a welcome email for each new subscriber, or a customized coupon based on their buyer’s history or interests.
Finally, by learning more about your customers’ past purchasing behavior, you’ll then be able to recommend other merchandise or services that they might like, such as sending an email marketing campaign of your products or customized coupons.
You can also take it up a notch and create a Members Area, where you’d be offering a dedicated space for your most loyal customers. Here, site visitors can log into their personal account to manage their order status or appointments, chat with other members and access other types of gated, exclusive content.
05. Rise of remote work
Another important small business trend is the surge in remote work and freelancing. While these provide unique benefits such as flexible scheduling and forgoing a long commute, many who are operating outside of a traditional office space may face additional challenges, such as maintaining a work-life balance.
If you're a small business that depends on freelancers and remote workers, there are several ways to keep the work environment professional while making your staff feel supported from afar. Remember that you can still foster a strong sense of team motivation without sharing a physical space. Be sure to check in on your employees regularly using communication platforms such as Slack, Zoom or Google Meets.
Other ways to support your employees while working remotely include taking the time to socialize virtually with your team, preserving your unique company culture and expressing your appreciation for their hard work with meaningful gestures or perks.
06. Growing an online community
Creating an online community of like-minded individuals can foster valuable connections around your brand. By sharing quality content about your field of expertise, from webinars to blogs, you'll be able to establish yourself as an authority in your industry and gain the trust of your audience.
Webinars are professional classes, workshops or presentations delivered online, while continually engaging a larger audience. Other forms of video content you can create in share includes live streaming, a live Q&A or an online course.
Another great way to support your community and keep it growing is by providing a forum where people can share and exchange ideas around your site. Creating a blog can also help solidify your voice in your field of business and continuously link you to your audience.
Sometimes your online community needs extra support. Don’t let them get left behind. Allow site visitors to reach you instantaneously by adding a Live Chat app to your site and help guide them through any queries they might have.
07. Promoting data transparency
08. Being eco-friendly and socially responsible
Consumers, especially younger ones, are demanding companies step up to the plate and tackle in some shape or form social and environmental issues such as climate change, species extinction, and more.
Businesses are taking action in a number of ways, such as improving work culture, donating to causes, supporting them on social media and becoming more sustainable within their own operations. If you choose to take steps such as cutting down on packaging waste or diversifying your workforce, be sure to notify your customers through anything from a social media post to a bold mission statement.
There are also some practical advantages to going green. In the U.S. there are tax credits and incentives on a state level for companies using solar and renewable energy. As a result, American businesses are already jumping on board and finding a warm reception of their green practices in their communities.
Companies of all stripes and sizes are beginning to perceive that business as usual is not the only option and in turn have begun embracing change. Multiple causes around the world are able to raise awareness and make a difference with strong nonprofit websites, petition websites and other forms of supporting their cause, both online and off.
Image Credits Featured Image: WIX
Cecilia Lazzaro Blasbalg - WIX Blog Writer
Article can be found on Wix Blogs at the following link: https://www.wix.com/blog/2020/07/small-business-trends/