Communicated Content – There has been only one constant for small business owners in the past two years, and that has been constant change. The onset of the pandemic prompted thousands of businesses to change their business models, offering new products or services and adopting new channels to reach customers. We discovered untapped opportunities in the “new normal” that thousands of others have utilized.
As we look at 2022, we realize that the past two years have impacted us profoundly and that new trends are materializing, such as the emerging metaverse, which will change how we define small businesses and how they operate – whether online, offline or somewhere in between.
Four collectively identified trends will reshape small companies by 2022 and beyond, and here is how they can help your business.
Due to the need to enhance their digital presence, small businesses have been forced to become increasingly creative in the last two years, opening up new possibilities for driving sales and building their brands simultaneously for many companies. Additionally, the convenience of online shopping and the beauty of live video has opened up new revenue streams for many that will last well beyond the pandemic. Live Shopping is an excellent example of how digital technology can help businesses promote their offerings while bringing their brand’s unique personality to the forefront of their online presence.
Creating a great Live Shopping experience is about combining the science of digital tools and insights that keep customers engaged with the art of making Live Shopping fun. Kelley Cawley of Illinois, for example, attributes more online and in-person traffic to regular live streams on Facebook that keep her customers more engaged than ever. She knows that since implementing the Live Shopping strategy, her sales have increased 88%. Businesses such as Cawley’s can experiment, innovate and make strategic decisions based on real data thanks to the combination of creative thinking and the understanding that digital tools can provide. As we enter 2022, we can expect businesses to find a home online to test further, combining art and science to find the most effective strategies for them.
Connecting the Gap Between Digital and Physical
In this day and age, many businesses use hybrid models, which means they have a physical presence and sell through online platforms. There is, in a way, no longer a binary division between online and offline or digital and non-digital after the pandemic accelerated what ‘digital’ actually means. An example would be Akila McConnell, owner of Unexpected Walking Tours in Atlanta. Akila’s company offered walking tours dedicated to Black History before the Pandemic in Atlanta. All of her revenues went down during the pandemic. As part of her digital strategy, Akila launched a Facebook and Instagram shop that sells gift boxes designed to represent the best in Atlanta and virtual tours to bridge her physical and online offerings. Ideally, small businesses should find a way to balance and maintain both in-person and digital experiences while also fusing them. Hence, they reach the biggest possible customer base without being limited by their geographical footprint while also providing convenient services to local customers.
The Growth of Entrepreneurship
An outpouring of creativity was one of the positive effects of the pandemic. A new generation of entrepreneurs and innovative ideas were born around the world when people began reconsidering previously held assumptions, like the necessity for some business to be conducted exclusively in person. In addition to adding more variety to the small business environment, this redefined what it means to be an entrepreneur. An unprecedented number of businesses is expected to be established in 2022 as a result of this trend. We are seeing a growing number of creators turning their passion into a livelihood, which is one of the more interesting evolutions. To illustrate, Cheese Board Queen Emily Delaney first showcased her passion for cheese and charcuterie boards on Instagram in 2019. Her spring book is coming out with Penguin’s DK Books just three years after hosting virtual classes and workshops. It is not uncommon to see stories like hers of sharing a passion online and turning it into a business, and we will continue to see more and more of it over time.
The New Era of Communication
The use of messaging to personalize customer communications is another exciting trend. As people’s preferences for communicating with companies change, companies need to change with them. More than 75% of adults across the world say they prefer to communicate with businesses via messaging, just as they do with their family and friends. Mobile internet is giving way to the metaverse, where companies large and small will be able to connect more personally via more immersive formats. Although the groundwork is already in place, it may seem far off. Businesses can, for example, conduct video calls via Messenger, so they can see and speak with customers, answer queries faster, improve customer service, and connect directly with them.