Whether you can believe it or not, this year is almost over, and with it comes the end of an entire decade, as well. While many articles are looking back and reminiscing on end-of-decade rankings and reviews, we know that entrepreneurs are only looking ahead to the future and how they can keep growing their business. That is why we want to share the nine trends that every growing business should consider for 2020.
Personalization is growing at an alarming rate. It can be seen with search engines and advertisers, which understand the importance of showing the right product to the right person at the right time. When you search for something on Google or Amazon, the website will show you similar searches and products that it thinks you might be interested in based on your previous history and actions. Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa also display the importance of personalization. These products almost act as a personal assistant for customers, and often they can go as far as allowing the customer to customize how these devices sound and interact with them. These websites and products create a uniquely tailored experience for each customer. Consider personalizing your store’s shopping experience, both in-store and online.
Speaking of online shopping, it is not going away any time soon, or likely ever. According to an article from Entrepreneur, about 51% of all Americans prefer to shop online instead of at an actual store. It is not just the online shoppers that use e-commerce websites, as many in-store shoppers still use e-commerce sites to research brands and products before ever stepping foot into a store. This 2020 you may want to consider investing in a company website that supports e-commerce (if you do not currently have one) or revving up your current e-commerce website. If you are looking for a way to process your e-commerce payments, we can help. Find out more information about how Acumen Connections can help your business accept multiple types of payment, including payment from e-commerce sales.
Marketers know that the best kind of promotion for any company is word-of-mouth. Shoppers trust other shoppers, and seeing positive or negative reviews can have a big impact on if they are buying a certain product or not. So, if your company has few online reviews, or a lot of negative reviews, you might want to figure out why, because it is most likely scaring other potential customers away. According to one survey, 97% of customers say reviews factor into their buying decision and 92% of them will hesitate to make a purchase if there are no reviews. You may not be able to remove negative reviews from websites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook, but if you pay attention to customers’ feedback, you may be able to identify what changes you and your team can make to improve the customer experience. If you are wondering how to get more reviews for your business, we have a secret for you: just ask for them. Many stores train their sales people to politely ask for a review after service, and some even send a follow-up email to customers to ask (1) if they are still happy with their recent purchase and (2) if they would like to write a review.
We have previously mentioned the importance of employee retention for any business and how it can impact the company’s bottom line. Studies have shown that 66% of employees would quit if they did not feel appreciated at their job. So, if you appreciate your team, you should let them know. The really great news about this is that thanking your team does not necessarily mean dishing out thousands of dollars to every employee. There are many ways to say thank you to your team, and fortunately, we have five great ways that you can express gratitude to them without breaking the bank.
More workers want work-life balance, and for some, working from home can be incredibly beneficial towards that. Remote employees are not having to spend time commuting to and from work, they are able to care for one of their kids if they get sick for a day or two, and they can be home for repairs or renovations. Employees like working remotely because many of them feel that they are able to focus more on projects and that there are less distractions and background noises. Companies like having remote employees because they can often downsize their office and save money on their building and utilities. Consider offering the option to your employees to work remotely in 2020, if possible.
Speaking of work/life balance and a flexible schedule, more and more people are looking to join the gig economy. Currently, 36% of US workers are part of the gig economy, and these individuals are chauffeuring people around, delivering food and groceries to homes, designing logos for companies, opening up their homes to renters and tourists, walking dogs, and more. People are looking for flexible part-time jobs that they can work outside of their traditional 8 AM – 5 PM job. The gig economy is great for companies that need a lot of employees working for them at all hours of the day at minimum wage. If this sounds like your company, you might want to consider stepping into the gig economy in 2020.
Customers want to help support businesses that help support their community and their world. Going green allows you to strengthen your current customer loyalty, improve your brand image, encourage a healthier work environment, have access to certain tax benefits, and even save money. Going green helps you lower your bottom line. Save money on shipping costs by decreasing the use of extra product packaging, on electricity by decreasing your energy usage, and on printing by going paperless. Now more than ever, there is a lot of pressure in the US and around the world to go green. If you are not sure where to start, Inc. has 8 simple ways to green your business.
You do not have to be the most tech savvy to understand the basics of SEO for your website: people use search terms and words to discover new things online, so you want to make sure your website includes those specific words and terms so that customers can find you easily. Voice search entirely changes the game on which keywords that are being searched. With typing, we often search things like, “top small businesses + 2019”, “dog groomer wichita”, and “good mexican restaurants near me”. With voice search, we tend to have key phrases instead, and these phrases sound very different, such as, “what were the best small businesses in 2019”, “find me a nearby dog groomer”, and “what’s the best Mexican restaurant in Topeka”. Not only do keywords change, but the process of selecting search results changes as well. Right now, people can scroll through and pick from one of the top results, so your company just has to be listed in the first few links; with voice search, the first result is always chosen and the searcher cannot compare the different options, so your company must be first on the list. Consider conducting more research into voice search and SEO this next year. You can start your research with this great Forbes article on the subject.
Big data is not just for big companies. More and more small businesses are using big data to understand what their customers are looking for, which trends are affecting their market or industry, how their competition is changing, and more. Big data might seem like an overwhelming amount of information, but it should not be. The point is reviewing the overall picture that is created with big data, rather than the individual data points. This next year, consider looking into how other growing businesses are currently using big data. To help you get started, Business News Daily has a list of 9 big data solutions for small businesses.
With a new year starting, you are likely wondering what changes you can make to increase your sales and decrease your bottom line this next year. Hopefully at least one or two of these trends feels like it might be a great opportunity for your company! At Acumen Connections, we are here to help you get paid. We will be sure to continue to provide you with valuable information and business advice in both the next year and the next decade as well.