Trends That Will Impact Small Businesses in the New Year
Trends That Will Impact Small Businesses in the New Year. As we all know, in the past two years, the only constant for small business owners has been changing. Thousands of businesses changed their business model at the beginning of the pandemic, introducing new products or services and exploiting new channels to reach their customers. A lot more launched new businesses altogether, spotting untapped opportunities in our collective “new normal situation.”
As we move on with 2022, we see the impacts of these past two years crystallizing and new trends emerging. Trends like the beginnings of the metaverse to changing how we define small businesses and how small businesses operate — online, offline, and in-between.
We have identified four trends that will reshape the small business space this year and beyond.
The Evolution of Entrepreneurship – Trends That Will Impact Small Businesses in the New Year
One positive by-product of the pandemic was an outpouring of creativity. All over the world, people re-examined previously held assumptions, like the need to conduct some business exclusively in-person and new, exciting ideas and businesses were born. This clearly and effectively redefined what it means to be an entrepreneur, it added more diversity to the small business space.
In 2022, this trend will continue and if not accelerate further as an increasing record number of businesses are forecasted to be started. One of the most interesting evolutions is the increasing frequency we’re seeing more creators turn their passion into a living.
A good example is Emily Delaney, the Cheese Board Queen, who started with a humble Instagram beginning, showcasing her love of cheese and charcuterie boards in 2019. Now, just three years later, she hosts virtual classes and workshops, she partners with brands regularly and has a book coming out with Penguin’s DK Books in the Spring.
Her story of sharing her passion online and turning it into a bonafide business is not unique, and we will see more of that from other people from now onwards.
The Art and Science of Creativity
Over the last two years, so many small business owners have had no choice but to become increasingly creative with their digital presence. And for many of them, this has opened new doors for driving sales and building their brand in the process.
Live Shopping is one great example of a digital technology that has helped businesses showcase their offerings while also infusing their brand’s unique personality into an online experience. And for many people, the beauty of a fun live video combined with the convenience of online shopping has opened up new revenue streams that will persist even beyond the pandemic.
Consider someone like Illinois boutique owner Kelley Cawley, who credits regular streams on Facebook Live with making her customers more engaged than ever, driving more online and in-person traffic to her store. In order to make Live Shopping a success, Kelley mixes the art of a fun Live experience with the science of digital tools and insights that help her understand what really keeps her customers engaged. In fact, she knows her sales have jumped 88% since she’s implemented the Live Shopping strategy.
In 2022, we can expect businesses that have found sustainability online to experiment further for more results, combining the art of creativity with data science tools, and ultimately discovering the strategies that work best for them.
Messaging Paves the Way for the Next Era of Communication
Another interesting development is how businesses are using messaging to personalize their communication with customers. People’s preferences for how they want to talk with companies are continuously evolving. 75% of adults globally prefer to communicate with businesses via messaging, in the same way, they communicate with friends and family.
As we gradually transit from the mobile Internet to the Metaverse era, we’ll see businesses large and small working with more immersive formats to forge personal connections online. For example, small businesses now conduct video calls via Messenger, allowing them to speak and see their customers face to face, helping them to answer questions faster and communicate better, providing better customer service, and of course, truly connecting person-to-person.
Bridging the Physical/Digital Divide
Many businesses are now trying to maintain a physical presence while also selling via eCommerce platforms that became a necessity during the pandemic. In a way, the pandemic has accelerated what ‘digital’ actually means, and as a result, there is no longer a binary divide or space between online or offline or digital and non-digital.
Take Akila McConnell, owner of Unexpected Walking Tours in Atlanta as a good example. Before the Pandemic, her business provided walking tours focused on Black History in Atlanta. When the pandemic hit, she lost all 100% of her revenue overnight.
After the incident, Akila pivoted online to sell gift boxes on Facebook and Instagram Shop that represented the best Atlanta had to offer and introduced virtual tours, bridging her physical offering with a new online experience. Balancing and maintaining both in-person and digital experiences, and infusing the two experiences together will ensure small businesses are reaching the largest possible customer base, not restricting them based on their geographical footprint, while also providing the convenience that local customers desire.
Despite all the changes and innovations we’ve seen over the past few years and that lie ahead in 2022, so many things will always remain the same. The ability to watch, listen and connect with your customers will always be important to small business success, and now digital tools make this easier than ever for all small businesses.