Small Business Trends to Watch For [In 2022]
2021 was a year where businesses began to recover and life started to regain a sense of normalcy. Small business owners were forced to pivot their operations, and as a result, many new small business trends have emerged to help business owners stay resilient and find their footing again.
There are some predictable trends that arose such as remote work becoming the norm… but what about other small business trends that aren’t as obvious such as customer experience and SEO?
To help the success of your business, we have put together a list of the 9 small business trends to be aware of in the coming year – many of which you can get started on today.
Take a close look and identify which of these small business trends need to be part of your business strategy for 2022 and beyond.
9 Top Small Business Trends in 2022
- E-commerce businesses will thrive
- Utilize mobile marketing
- Get serious about tech for your business
- Prioritize customer experience and build trust
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Growing an online community
- Video will continue to grow
- Remote work is here to stay
- Eco friendly/ socially responsible
1. E-commerce businesses will thrive
E-commerce has been constantly rising as a small business trend for years, however this past year it has shown it will continue to be strong and is here to stay. In 2022, mobile purchases are expected to grow by 68%.
More customers are shopping online than ever before and they will continue to expect the same convenience of finding the products and services they are looking for online as they did at their favorite brick-and-mortar shops.
In many cases, creating an e-commerce store for your small business can help improve your sales and operations and even add an additional revenue stream.
Here are some initial things to consider for a successful e-commerce store:
- Research best e-commerce platforms
- Make your website mobile-friendly
- Leverage social media
- Look into drop shipping or a fulfillment warehouse to ship orders
- Use programs to track performance insights
- Make shipping faster and more transparent
2. Utilize mobile marketing
With over 3.6 billion smartphone users in the world, it is no secret that mobile marketing is a can’t miss strategy. Business owners must see how they can make their business operations mobile-friendly to keep up with the current small business trends.
Many customers now expect to have an easy and user friendly experience when interacting with businesses digitally, especially from their phone or tablet.
Here are some mobile trends that can help keep your customers and employees satisfied in 2022:
Cashless payments will become standard for businesses
Cashless payments can include a variety of payment methods such as credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets such as Apple Pay (think touch-free technology), and payment apps such as Paypal, Venmo or Zelle.
As technology advances more cashless payments will become available, and small businesses will have no choice but to keep up with the trend.
Alternative pick-up options
Don’t underestimate the popularity of alternative pickup options. The vast majority of businesses had to get creative at the point of sale, and contactless pickup options dominated 2020 and 2021.
It’s safe to say customers will continue to expect the same or similar services moving forward. This means you should prioritize having easy mobile ordering and delivery services and offer curbside pick-up. With these changes, it is even more important for your website to look nice on mobile devices.
Responsive customer service is a big part of keeping businesses afloat. Chat bots can help fill the gap between customer inquiries and lack of bandwidth for employees to answer all their concerns.
Chatbots help simplify customer service by answering FAQ’s, gathering feedback, suggesting product recommendations, notifying customers about sales, and much more.
3. Get serious about tech for your business
It is no secret that the pandemic has changed the way we look at working remotely. Now more than ever, clear communication with your team leads to success. So, It’s vital that your business is prioritizing strengthening it’s communication tactics in this remote era.
According to a recent survey from The Conference Board, 43% of U.S. workers question the call to return to the workplace. As a result, businesses will need technology platforms that enable effective communication and collaboration in 2022 — regardless of location.
There are several communication tools and applications that have been trending in the last two years, like video conferencing software and messaging platforms. Luckily, these tools and applications can help your team, remote or not.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been trending as a large component of streamlining certain tasks for businesses, and it’s going to become an even more important trend in the future.
Depending on the type of technology, it can help you increase sales, get to know your customers better, and prevent fraud. This technology will continue to advance in 2022, so it’s worth looking into how this trend can help your small business succeed. Here are a few examples of AI in business:
- Facial recognition
- Personalized recommendations
- Personalized ads and marketing
- Smart assistant like Siri
- Chatbots on websites and social media
4. Prioritize customer experience and build trust
As a small business owner, you are aware that giving customers a memorable experience is what builds trust and keeps them coming back. This small business trend has always been relevant, but it is more important now than ever before.
Customers now expect a more personalized experience, so businesses must understand their exact wants and needs. Here are a few ways you can create a great customer experience:
Learn from customer feedback
As a small business owner, it’s necessary to make sure your efforts are guided by your customer’s opinions. You can gain insight through customer surveys, open invitations, or online platforms.
At the same time, it’s a good idea to pay attention to your customer reviews. Even if you receive a bad review, the way you respond can create a loyal customer. Listening to your customers’ concerns makes them feel more comfortable, which builds trust.
Becoming more aware of how data-driven strategies can help businesses adapt to consumers’ changed habits and other shifts due to the pandemic is important.
Taking the time to get to know your customer’s needs and lifestyle, whether through surveys, phone interviews, social media campaigns, contests or focus groups, is time well spent. You will likely uncover multiple opportunities, from process efficiencies to product improvements to more effective messaging. Being customer-centric builds trust and attracts more business. Make customer data your best friend.
Using data to understand your customers can help you make well-informed decisions and create a better customer experience. It can also help you tailor your messaging so it reaches the right audience at the right time to generate more sales.
Build good rapport with customers
Small businesses have the opportunity to personally get to know their customers unlike the Fortune 500 companies. By consistently reaching out, getting to know your customers by name, and even remembering the faces of your customers makes them feel valued and the interactions more meaningful.
If you are unable to see your customers in person, social media makes it easy to give them a follow, comment, or like. A personalized email strategy is also a good option to consider. These small online actions can go a long way and make them feel involved.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Out of the many emerging small business trends SEO is often looked over, however it is something all businesses with a website can be using to their advantage.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it essentially helps the right customers and audience find your website organically via an online search.
It is a way of upleveling your website content to attract both humans and search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
SEO is driven by everything from keywords to Google reviews to customer-centric content that answers the questions your audience is asking.
Our Content Specialist Capree Waters says, “navigating SEO for your small business website can seem intimidating. One place to start is focusing on Google reviews. Once you create a Google My Business account for your website you can interact with online reviews. Users today are more likely to trust and choose a business who has strong reviews.”
If you’re a small business new to SEO, take some small steps to ensure your site is getting some traffic.
Here are a few resources online for small businesses looking to begin SEO.
- The Beginner’s Guide to Small Business SEO [6 Easy Steps]
- Local SEO: the ultimate guide for small businesses
- 6 Small Business SEO Tips for Time-Strapped Entrepreneurs
6. Growing an Online Community
One significant trend seen as a result of the pandemic is the growth of online communities. Whether it was weekly zoom sessions with family or friends, online book clubs, or even online yoga, people came together in creative ways to stay connected to their communities.
Many small businesses can benefit from growing an online community around their brand. You can establish yourself as an expert in your industry and gain the trust of your customers and audience.
That’s what our borrower South L.A. Cafe did and they grew their community to 42.3K Instagram followers. They were able to put out an SOS to their audience to help them keep their doors open and sponsor boxes of groceries for neighbors in need. Click here to see their story.
Here are a few ways to grow your online community:
Share valuable content
One way to take advantage of this small business trend is consistently sharing valuable content. This can be in the form of webinars, online presentations, creating short videos, live streaming on social media, or even a live Q&A session. Remember the content does not always have to be about you. Instead, think about the kind of content your customers are interested in reading about. In the long run, they will see you as a trusted source and not always trying to market to them.
Create a blog
Creating a blog can help grow your community by sharing ideas and updates in your field. Each blog can be shared across social media to your audience and can attract others to join.
Interact with customers
Another great way to keep a thriving online community is to directly interact with customers. Businesses can do this by replying to comments, sending dms, and even following their loyal customers. This can have a positive ripple effect of getting customers to market your business for you by sharing it with their audience.
Create a newsletter
If you have an email list or a blog subscription forum, you can then create a newsletter for your small business using those contacts. This can be used to keep your community up to date on any sales, new products, events, or offers.
7. Video will continue to grow
If your business is not already incorporating video into your marketing strategy, now is the time to start. And if you use video, it’s a great time to amp up the efforts.
Video marketing is as relevant as ever and is only growing in popularity. In fact, in their 2021 report, Wyzowl found that 94% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service, and 78% said that video has directly increased their sales.
Our Multimedia specialist David Dobreski says “your video doesn’t have to have a high quality production in order to be effective.” Google found that viewers prioritize the relevancy of a video to their interests and passions far above production quality. So do not be hesitant about pulling out that phone!
The small business trend of video is not going away, it is better to embrace it.
If you are equipped with a smartphone or a cheap camera, you can start creating effective videos right away.
“Two of the most important aspects to dial in are audio and stabilization, without both of these dialed in your watch time will go down,” says David. Here is a good starting point for audio and stabilization, regardless of your setup.
To get all of David’s tips in one place see his 5 Quick Tips on Creating Better Small Business Videos and Photos.
8. Remote work is here to stay
The pandemic has cemented remote work as not only viable but a productive, successful, and often cost-effective way to work.
Many small businesses shifted to part-time or full-time remote work due to local ordinances.
Now, depending on your type of business, you may need to implement permanent remote work offerings to compete for talented employees in 2022 and beyond.
Many business owners are looking to invest into technology and software solutions that help employees work remotely.
If your business is remote, remember to take the time to socialize virtually with your team though programs like Slack, Zoom or Google Meets. Company culture, which remains critical to success, can still be fostered remotely to help your staff feel supported.
9. Eco friendly/ Socially responsible
Consumers of today are looking to support companies that make a stance or show support for social and environmental issues.
Owners can play a part in these small business trends by improving work culture, donating to causes that matter to them, supporting causes on social media, and becoming more eco-friendly/sustainable within their own operations.
Some of these moves may be cutting down on waste to be more sustainable or diversifying your workforce. If your business starts taking steps towards this, be sure to notify your audience on social media or post on your website.
Many American small businesses are already on board with going green as there are tax credits and incentives on a state level for companies that use solar and renewable energy.
It is important to remember that customers are worried about the environment and social issues, and your brand’s impact matters. Gain more customers in 2022 by following these trends and start making changes now.