2020 is here, ushering in a decade brimming with potential for small business owners.
Whether your focus is local, provincial or national, we live in a changing (and challenging) landscape for business. It’s also one that should be embraced as an opportunity for growth.
Keeping an eye to the future is always good business, placing your enterprise at the head of the queue to achieve that growth. To kick the year off in style, we’ve asked the Small Business BC team to list the 2020 business trends to keep an eye on.
Sustainability is the New Normal
Consumers are going green. Buyers want to shop at stores that reflect their values and an increasing number are willing to pay more to do so. In 2020, businesses who display a purpose beyond making a profit will find themselves increasingly rewarded for their stance. This doesn’t need to be a sea change. Businesses can make small, incremental changes that will make a difference over time. Try to take steps like engaging with local, sustainable vendors; reduce packaging where possible and encourage customers to use their own bags/containers.
Personalized Customer Service
If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, you’ll be aware of their tailored product suggestions based on earlier purchases/browsing habits. This type of personalized customer service is increasingly becoming the norm as software becomes cheaper and easier to implement. Smart personalization of customer-facing products has been shown to increase sales by 15 per cent on average, with customers naturally inclined to do business with companies who efficiently deliver the products they want.
Social Media “Stories”
We’ve come a long way since Snapchat introduced the ephemeral concept of stories to the social media world. Since then, the idea has been borrowed by Instagram and Facebook, even becoming the primary way a lot of users interact with the platforms. The repercussions of this shift have proved massive, with advertisers pivoting from text-based ads to easily digestible videos with a strong call to action. This trend looks guaranteed to continue but it’s not enough to start pumping out story content; it needs to be aligned with your brand. For best results keep any story content light and spontaneous. Use it as a testing ground for ideas and be receptive to customer feedback.
A Focus on Employee Retention
As Canada’s unemployment rate continues to fall, businesses have realized the benefits of employee retention. This has manifested itself in the increasing presence of perks like flexible hours, remote working and more competitive wages. It’s a lot cheaper for a business to retain a staff member than go through the hiring and training process continually. This trend will continue apace in 2020, led by a millennial generation who do their research on company culture/perks before committing to accepting a job offer. Businesses who don’t align themselves with this expectation will likely be left behind.
5G is Coming
5G networks are expected to launch globally in 2020. Customers will have access to blazing fast mobile download speeds, ushering in a new era of video consumption. Interactions will become instantaneous, opening new avenues for small businesses to communicate with their customers. Sure, it won’t have an immediate impact on how we do business in the coming year, but it marks the beginning stages of a highly connected world with limitless potential. No matter your industry, it’s a roll out to watch with keen interest.