Finances & Money

2018 Small Business Trends: After the First Quarter, What are the Experts Saying?

It’s another quarter, and for many small businesses it’s time to take a look at the current trends and decide what’s worth trying out. Experts are optimistic that small businesses will fare better, and thrive especially if they key into the current trends and find innovative ways to apply them. Here are the small business trends of 2018 and how experts say they’ll progress.

In-home services, delivery, and consultations

Consumers prefer to stay at home and purchase commodities from the comfort of their couch. There are several ways small businesses can reach such customers. Merchants can try to engage customers by reaching out to them in their homes. Businesses providing services such as hand delivery of goods and other services will expand, and home delivery services will also be improved. The concept of the “travelling salesman” can also be expected to make a return, with small businesses sending people to meet customers at home for consultation services and recommending the purchase of products that may be useful.

Improved social media strategies

Messenger apps including Facebook Live and Instagram Stories will significantly impact how small businesses relate with their customers online. This trend will go beyond simply posting photos or updates to a branded social media profile. More advanced methods of social media advertising will be incorporated into marketing strategies. Businesses will begin to see the need to boost their social media game and employ social networks and apps to communicate brand messages or interact with customers in real time.

Shopper-customised products

Small businesses that allow shoppers to build and customise products will flourish. In 2018 and beyond, personalisation will remain a key business trend. This trend goes beyond simply letting consumers engrave their names on products or sending individualised emails to customers. It implies the type of personalisation that enables shoppers to create products and add customisation to the minutest detail. Modern customers are more interested in buying an experience, as they connect with their identity. Therefore, products and services are more attractive when they are completely unique, tell a story or fit into the customer’s personal lifestyle. Giving customers the opportunity to build and personalize products meets these standards, and makes shopping a more fun experience in itself.

The rest of 2018 and beyond is bright for small businesses who adapt their products and services to the needs of their customers. As long as they can successfully evolve along with customers, they can find success as they grow and expand. In order to pull this off, small businesses need to take a closer look at the data, and add useful technologies such as machine learning to their customer service strategies. For some, adapting trends might mean registering staff for relevant trainings, while others may benefit from reorganising their delivery formats. Like almost every other aspect of growing a business, it will be about putting the customer first, and creating an experience that will keep them coming back for more.

 

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Susan Paige

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