Trends come and go but for small businesses it’s crucial to stay up to date with consumer changes. Being aware of emerging trends is the key to success.
2020 brought major changes to our world. Dealing with COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone, and economies globally have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Overall Emerging Trends
2021 was a bit of a roller coaster. For small business owners, this uncertainty is even more troubling. That’s why paying attention to emerging trends is so important.
We’ve taken a look at four emerging trends and what they might mean for small business owners and consumers.
1. Cater to Generation Z
Generation Z—those born roughly between 1996 and 2012—are fast becoming the most powerful consumer group, even if some are only nine or ten years old.
Previous generations seem to perceive Gen Zers as distractible and lazy. But in reality, they’re socially conscious and know exactly what they want in life.
Some companies have started to cater more for Gen Z, but many are still lagging behind. This consumer group is most at home online, making it imperative for businesses to have an online presence that goes beyond a website. Apart from technology, the biggest priorities of Gen Zers are factors like social justice, adaptability, and living authentically. While they live online, they also desire personalized service.
Action tips: The main priority when it comes to attracting Gen Zers is open-mindedness. Gen Z values honesty and integrity, and would rather shop ethically if possible. To appeal to the youngest consumer group, business owners must be willing to operate ethically and transparently.
2. Adaptable Business Models
One thing we all learned in 2020 was that adaptability is valuable—even essential. From our private lives to the business world, the sudden change forced society to give up certain behaviors and add new ones. For many industries, this proved fatal, as they’d never had to contend with such rigid restrictions before. Lockdowns caused non-essential businesses to close, at least temporarily, and those that remained open reported to remote working.
When it came to reaching consumers, businesses had to adapt quickly and radically. Now, more than a year later, it’s clear that business isn’t back to “normal” (and may never be). Many people are more cautious about going out and spending time in shops or spaces where they’ll mingle with strangers.
Businesses that have managed to survive, or even thrive, have turned to new ways, such as combining online and offline elements, contactless delivery, and offering services online instead of in person.
As a business owner, the challenge now is to reach your target market and reassure them that you’re still there. While making sure that everyone is safe and healthy. Flexibility is the goal. And once again, open-mindedness is the way to achieve it.
Action tips: A business continuity plan (BCP) has emerged as an essential tool to help businesses survive in these uncertain times. BCPs help business owners prepare for the unknown and formulate plans to ensure their survival in the face of unprecedented hardships—like the events of the past year or so.
To formulate your own BCP, it’s best to get advice from a professional.
3. Growth of eCommerce
Shopping online isn’t new by any means. But over the past 18 or so months, it has become the norm. Before 2020, it would be safe to say that some consumers, mostly young, felt at home shopping online. Now, businesses that don’t have an online presence stand little chance of surviving, let alone thriving.
Tapping into the online market is something all businesses must aim for. Having an online presence is non-negotiable.
Action tips: Keeping up in these economic times demands an innovative approach. The over-65s still tend to prefer brick-and-mortar shops. But in the coming years, the buying power will increasingly sit with people who’ve grown up online to some degree.
Your website should be easy enough to navigate for the older population. Even if you don’t have physical business premises, stating your central location (the city, for example) can give a sense of stability. Show that you’re a real person rather than a nebulous internet presence.
4. Social Media Marketing
The growth of eCommerce is closely linked to the ways small businesses advertise and promote their services. 2020 meant that people stayed home much more than usual, which meant they were online more than usual (especially those working and studying remotely). This typically meant that they spent a lot more time on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Going online, and especially on social media, is the only way businesses have of reaching their target market. We already know that Generation Z is fast becoming the most powerful consumer group, and they, more than any other population, live online.
Action tips: Stay on top of research and follow the trends. Go online and interact with customers, find out what they like and don’t like, and try to understand the importance of being available 24/7. Part of social media’s power is its ability to connect people in real-time.
It’s clear that the world is changing and is likely to remain uncertain for some time to come. For small businesses looking to thrive, the best preparation is a flexible approach and a willingness to monitor trends and adapt. For more assistance with your small business needs, visit our services page to see how we can help. Alternatively, you can book in for a Free 30 Minute Discovery Call today!