There is no sugarcoating that the COVID-19 pandemic hit small businesses hard. It is believed that nearly 100,000 small businesses that had temporarily shut down due to the pandemic were eventually pushed out of business. And so, if yours has managed to stay afloat despite all these trials and tribulations, you have achieved an amazing feat.
However, the new year brings new challenges and new opportunities. Staying on top of trends and anticipating ever-changing customer behaviors will help your business thrive in this rocky retail climate. To make sense of what to expect in 2022, read our predictions for the new year and tips for keeping your company on trend.
eCommerce Will Be Everywhere
Since 2020, a significant chunk of businesses have made their way to the digital space. Given that eCommerce has forged an indispensable niche into the new normal, this uptick in the number of eCommerce channels will continue well into 2022. Businesses should embrace and adapt to this change as soon as possible to drive immediate and long-term results.
While the best course of action would be to start your online store, cost overheads can be a major deterrent to this route. However, launching your eCommerce store on social media platforms or opening a store on general marketplaces can be a viable option for small businesses to tap into the benefits of eCommerce.
Multichannel Shopping Remains Popular
The prevalence of eCommerce and social media highlights that multichannel shopping appears to have gained traction with customers looking for convenient user experiences.
A buyer may come across a brand through billboards or banners, then look up their social media handle. From there, they can access an online store, explore products and visit the nearest store to make a purchase.
As such, the journey from awareness to sale has transitioned through multiple online and offline channels. Accordingly, businesses must review their customer journeys and stock up on the marketing materials that best engage their target market’s preferred shopping style.
Customers Crave Personalization
As we dive deeper into a customer-centric world, buyers crave a certain degree of personalization. In 2022, personalization will need to go beyond using the shopper’s name in your emails and messages. Businesses must be prepared to personalize every interaction and stage of the buyer’s journey to offer more value to shoppers.
Personalized marketing with shelf signs, direct mail, and digital marketing, will have to include tailored product recommendations, retaining customer preferences such as mode of payment, reminders to restock popular products, and more. Businesses can up their game by personalizing merchandise and gifts to loyal customers. In return, they can request reviews and feedback to improve their services.
Shoppers Need to See Your Brand’s Positive Impact
While social responsibility is typically associated with corporations, small businesses are the true heroes in committing to the greater good at the grassroots level. 2020 and 2021 have emphasized the importance of businesses maintaining a touch of humanity, and such an expectation will also make its way into 2022.
Fortunately, there are several ways small businesses can display their positive impact on society. They can host, participate, and contribute to community events. They can partner with nonprofits and redirect some of their revenue for donations. Businesses with a strong online presence can promote charities and run a resource page that encourages buyers to do their bit for social change.
As customers gain greater control of the shopping experience, businesses must prepare to meet their demands. Convenience and ease of shopping are two key requirements for modern-day shoppers.
Whether in store or online, it’s important to create a convenient layout for your customers. From your sales floor to web pages, make sure your products are organized and logically displayed. Use directional signage and concise copy to direct them along the physical or digital user journey. Add same-day delivery, curbside pickup, or multiple payment options and you will see big returns for your revenue.
Video Content is Vital
The demand for video content has grown slowly yet steadily in the past few years, and it appears that this momentum is not slowing down in 2022. Video content will remain the most popular form of content in 2022.
With platforms like TikTok and Instagram that heavily depend on video content paired with the ability to shoot engaging video content using one’s smartphone, small business owners can easily integrate video content with social media to promote their business!