Millions of people around the world dream about starting their own small businesses. They are passionate about certain products or services and want to share that with their target audiences. However, owning a business is no easy feat.
According to research, more than 32 million small businesses operate in the USA alone. The market is competitive. As a small business owner, you need to do what it takes to stand out. For one, you must keep abreast of small business trends to maintain a competitive edge.
We all know that the coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the business landscape in the past two years. Moreover, thousands of businesses had to adjust, launching new products or services and turning to new channels to reach their customers. If you have done that as well, make an effort to follow the latest trends to improve your business.
We have prepared eight small business trends you should consider:
- Cloud communications (VoIP telephony)
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
- Social media
- Influencer marketing
- Personalized customer experience
- Retaining customers
- Hybrid workplaces
Let’s check them out!
Small business trends for brands to follow
More and more business owners seem keen on improving the way they do business. This is because they face one of the biggest challenges—staying relevant in a competitive market. How can you expand your business in this environment?
For starters, business owners can follow the latest industry trends to generate buzz. You can do that as well if you want to overcome the above-mentioned biggest challenge. In addition, join many other business owners and take advantage of what the industry offers to improve your brand.
The increased use of cloud communications (VoIP telephony)
Whether you own brick-and-mortar stores or an online shop, your customers want to keep in touch with you. They will inevitably have order issues or queries only your customer service team can resolve. That is why you should have a dedicated phone number or other customer support tools, including live chat or email.
We’ll focus on phone support. Why? Easy—many businesses use cloud communications apps today. It’s one of the emerging small business trends you must follow. After all, 76% of all consumers prefer calling customer support representatives to solve a specific issue. This is where cloud communications come in handy for small business owners.
As technology advances, small businesses can enjoy the benefits of state-of-the-art communications technology without having to use expensive telephone systems. It seems they are now less wary of embracing new technologies like VoIP telephony to improve customer service.
Indeed, we expect to see more businesses turn to cloud communications tools like Ringblaze in 2022. Even now 42% of companies have increased cloud application adoption. They know that establishing effective communication between teams and customers is crucial.
When your support teams provide excellent services, buyers will be impressed. In addition, their satisfaction leads to an increase in revenue and customer base. Therefore, say goodbye to old methods of communicating with consumers and embrace cloud communications technologies!
Ringblaze is there for you. It is a call center phone system your team needs to improve customer satisfaction. We offer a lot of VoIP features small business owners need:
- Call recording
- International calling
- Call history
- A shared dashboard
- Call routing
All of this is available for a fraction of the price you’d pay for other customer service apps. If you want to get more bang for your buck, Ringblaze is the right solution! Many satisfied businesses have seen for themselves how we help them offer the best service possible.
Sign up for Ringblaze today!
The adoption of AI
Small business owners didn’t give artificial intelligence much consideration more than a decade ago. However, this has changed, with companies expected to have over 30 AI projects in 2022. AI helps them streamline certain tasks, which explains why it is popular today.
Moreover, according to Gartner, the market for AI software will reach $62 billion in 2022, a 21.3% rise from 2021.
By leveraging the right AI technology, your small business can:
- Save time and money by automating repetitive processes and tasks
- Increase productivity and efficiency of your team
- Make informed decisions based on the available information
AI can also help you create the best user experience. This technology collects data, which enables you to understand your consumers better.
If you want to give AI a try, we suggest you focus on:
- Machine learning. Leverage this technology if you want to process large amounts of data quickly. Machine learning relies on algorithms that “learn” over time. AI-powered models learn different data patterns through data labeling serving as training datasets. This is increasingly popular among businesses as it helps them understand their consumers. For instance, Netflix uses machine learning to recommend shows or movies to its users.
- Deep learning. This is a subset of AI. It is helpful if you want to perform more advanced tasks, like fraud detection. If you suspect credit card fraud has occurred, you can use deep learning to protect buyers. The role of AI in fraud detection is also significant.
Small business owners should also invest in AI if they want to:
- Launch chatbots on websites
- Create personalized recommendations to consumers
- Show personalized ads to drive customers down the sales funnel
- Offer personalized service to website visitors
AI is the focus of many small business owners. 79% of executives think AI makes their jobs simple and more efficient. So, do yourself a favor and consider using AI for your business. It has the potential to turn your brand into a small business success story.
The expansion of e-commerce
E-commerce is here to stay. Small businesses should take advantage of this fact and launch an online store. Although brick-and-mortar stores can be enough, online shops can lead to increased sales for your business.
People are spending more time online than ever before. In 2021, 74% of internet users in the EU shopped online. This is one of those massive small business trends you can’t disregard. After all, many e-commerce businesses have benefited from it in the past year.
Set up a website for your brand where people can easily find necessary information. If you have products or services to offer, add them to your website. Sometimes buyers don’t feel like visiting a physical shop to purchase a product. If you have an online store, they will likely visit it to make a purchase.
Having a strong online presence introduces you to a larger customer base. You will have more channels to sell your products, resulting in higher sales. Aside from that, customers feel more comfortable when a brand is present on the internet.
Your website should tell them how they can contact you (e.g. via a “call us now” button) and enable them to purchase easily from you. This should be a top priority for all small business owners.
Why is an e-commerce website important?
Whether they are on a holiday, on sick leave or merely unable to visit your physical store, buyers will still want to purchase from businesses. Here is why an online website is important:
- Increase brand awareness. Consumers should associate certain products with your brand. This is a prerequisite for a successful business. Digital marketing can help you here. You can control how it looks and what it says when you have your own branding with a logo, website design, and other similar details. You can use the right tools, like logo creator, to boost your brand awareness to highlight your values.
- Get to know your audience better. Offering products or services online helps businesses understand their customers. When they visit your website, you’ll learn their location, age, gender and other information. You can use this to create effective marketing campaigns.
- Launch marketing campaigns. An e-commerce website introduces you to buyers who are not familiar with your brand. However, if you want them to visit your website, you need to develop a marketing strategy. Creating a successful marketing strategy can increase sales and drive more customers to your brand.
Focus on building a social media presence
Knowing which small business trends are prevailing is crucial. You don’t want your competitors to win because they are more informed than you. The majority of your competitors know they should be present on social media platforms.
Over 4.5 billion people are active on social media. There is a high chance a portion of this audience will find your brand’s profile on these networks. This can be helpful for your business.
According to research, 83% of people use Instagram to find new products and services. 87% of buyers have taken a specific action, like making a purchase, after discovering a product on this app. This is what all businesses should keep in mind.
If your small business isn’t already present on social media, you should rethink this. Ask other small business owners and they will tell you how social media has helped them achieve marketing goals.
If you want to raise brand awareness, engage your customers or interact with your target audience, having an active social media account is the way to go. Inform your followers about your business using different content types, including:
- Short-form video content
- Live streams
Benefits of social media for your small business
Successful small business owners invest in digital marketing. They know shoppers won’t find their brands by chance—they need to lure them in. To retain loyal customers and attract prospective ones, they rely on social media.
Why? These platforms help businesses achieve the following:
- Establish a personal connection. The ability to connect with your buyers on a personal level is a key benefit of social media for small businesses. Use these platforms to showcase how consumers use and benefit from your products. Tell their stories if you want to humanize your brand.
- Come across as a thought leader. People have started to turn to brands for insights and information. They want to purchase products from local small businesses that appear to be experts in the field. Social media is a great place to establish your brand as a thought leader.
- Showcase your products or services. What better way for potential customers to understand what you offer than through engaging social media posts. If you want to increase sales, inform users about your products or services and how they can help them resolve a specific problem.
Small businesses of all kinds should use tools that help them attract new buyers. Social media should be your top priority if you want to follow certain small business trends.
Influencer marketing on social media
While we are on the subject of social media, we need to talk about influencer marketing. You can use various tools to promote your small business, but nothing is more effective than an influencer talking about your brand.
Almost 50 of consumers depend on influencer recommendations. They want to hear from people just like them who have had an experience with your business. That seems more credible to them than listening to a brand praising its own products or services.
As this is what potential clients prefer, around 70% of marketers plan to increase their budgets to work with influencers in the upcoming year. They are boosting spending to raise brand awareness, reach new audiences and promote their offerings worldwide. This will improve the picture people have about their small businesses.
This is one of those small business trends you should follow as well. Running targeted ads and sending emails isn’t enough. You should collaborate with a social media influencer as well.
People view influencers as trustworthy figures. They are individuals who are separate from companies. As a result, they are more likely to stop and watch what influencers have to say.
Influencers have become an important part of digital marketing. Don’t ignore them if your small business can afford them.
Personalized customer experiences
Small business owners have included personalization into their marketing strategies for years. Thanks to advances in technology, it is now much easier to offer a personalized experience to buyers. For small businesses who haven’t done it, this year is a great time to start.
Personalization enables you to deliver messages and content tailored to each customer. Consumers get tired of receiving impersonal and formal messages from small businesses. They want to see you have taken the time to get to know them and send messages that express this.
If they see you’ve taken an effort, they are more likely to purchase from your small business. In fact, studies show that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy when businesses offer personalized experiences.
This is where other small business trends come in handy. If you adopt AI, you can offer personalized customer service and experience. By analyzing your customers, these technologies will provide insight into individual consumers. As a result, you will be able to tailor your content, campaigns and creatives.
Focus on retaining customers
Small businesses face fierce competition today. That is why one of the main small business trends we’re seeing is retaining customers. No business owner wants to lose consumers they have worked hard to attract.
If they want to retain customers, small businesses need to employ tactics that show they care about their shoppers. Here are some strategies that can help your small business with customer retention:
- Improve your customer support. Small business owners rely on support systems to facilitate communication with their customers. They use business phone systems like Ringblaze to provide excellent customer service. Having a dedicated phone number, email address or live chat is crucial for customer retention. How else will disappointed consumers contact you and give you a chance to improve their experience?
- Offer a loyalty program. Loyalty programs can be introduced by a variety of small businesses. These programs are effective in moving customers down the sales funnel. If you want to increase purchase frequency, introduce loyalty programs as they motivate individuals to buy more often to get valuable rewards.
- Write engaging emails to customers. 64% of small businesses worldwide use email marketing to reach customers. Companies know that emails can be the backbone of customer engagement, especially if they are personalized. If they purchase on your website, customers receive an email. Use this opportunity to create engaging content that adds value to their experience. Also, take advantage of the DMARC report for your email’s good deliverability.
- Offer a discount. Happy customers are loyal customers. What makes consumers happy? Discounts. Nothing will make them feel like a part of a community more than special offers. If you’re a business owner, have your teams devise discount plans. Perhaps each customer can get a discount code for their next purchase. This is a great way to motivate consumers to come back. They will disregard other businesses in favor of your brand.
While running a successful brand, small business owners shouldn’t only focus on their customers. There is another group that keeps their business thriving—employees. You must keep your team members as satisfied as your shoppers.
Many small businesses are aware of this fact. That’s why the latest trend is to come up with new ideas that ensure employees love working at their companies.
As they want to recruit top talent, small business owners have introduced flexibility in the workplace. This means employees can choose their optimal work schedule. In other words, they start working whenever they decide. There is no fixed schedule.
Another method that improves work-life balance is the option to work from home or in person. Employees want to have the power to decide whether they’re working remotely or not. This is especially useful for them during the global pandemic.
Remote work is all the rage right now. Instead of commuting and spending hours in traffic, team members would likely choose remote work. Some business owners don’t want to introduce a full-on remote work environment. In that case, they allow their employees to work from home a specific number of days per week.
Small businesses today seem more willing to cater to the needs of their workers. If that means introducing hybrid workplaces that allow remote work, many small businesses won’t shy away from making that decision.
Follow trends to generate buzz around your small business
Your small business needs to keep abreast of the latest trends to remain relevant. The industry is constantly changing and introducing new ways to engage customers and retain employees. Small business owners should put these individuals first if they want to thrive.
Of course, you don’t need to adopt every trend we mentioned in our article. Start from those you can easily follow and then move towards more complex ones. For instance, you can work with your team to build a strong social media presence or launch a user-friendly e-commerce website.
From there on, consider how you can use new solutions to improve your operation and attract more customers to your business.
If you want to try a VoIP provider, consider Ringblaze. Give it a go by clicking here. It is 100% free to try!
What are the small business trends for 2022?
Small business trends you should look out for in 2022 include:
- Using cloud communications (VoIP telephony)
- Leveraging AI and machine learning
- Focusing on e-commerce
- Building a social media presence
- Collaborating with influencers
- Offering a personalized customer experience
- Focusing on customer retention
- Introducing hybrid workplaces
What is trending in small business?
The latest buzzwords among small business owners are hybrid workplaces, influencer marketing, personalization and e-commerce.
What are the most successful small businesses?
If you are passionate about what you do, you have more chances to make your small business a success. However, if you’re unsure which business to open, here are some of the most successful small businesses to start in 2022:
- Web design
- Social media management
- Online advertising on a search engine and social media
- Business consulting
- Property management
What small businesses are in high demand?
Although the need for certain small businesses varies, some are always in high demand:
- Tutoring services
- Fitness instructions
- Cleaning services
- Digital marketing services
- Delivery services
- App and website development
Originally published on December 20, 2021. Updated June 15, 2022.