We want every year to be the year of small business! In 2020 there are some trends that small businesses can use to help them leap forward.

 

1. Personalized (and personable) customer service

Everyone is used to having the ads on their social media feeds that directly reflect their own personal experiences. Ever noticed that right after you’re shopping for shoes online, the next time you go into Facebook, your ads are full of shoes?

When you shop online, the algorithms are based on your previous shopping experience. If all you ever buy are shoes, you’re unlikely to see ads for lawnmowers or monster trucks or protein supplements.

When there are too many choices, customers find it harder to buy something. Not only do people find too much choice overwhelming, they also feel less satisfied with the choices they did make!

Reducing this overwhelm for your customers is rewarding for them. By using this kind of AI in your own online store, you can make shopping easier and more satisfying for your customers.

Having said that, AI is not going to take over customer service. Especially for small businesses.

How much do you love trying to call tech support for your software? Or your internet or phone company? How wonderful is it when you’re forced to go through menu after automated menu, finally getting to an actual support line, and then being told it’ll be an hour before they get to you? 

Do you hang up and go online as the computer voices keep telling you? Or do you need to talk to an actual person? How frustrated are you by the time you get to an actual person?

You’re not a monopoly. You can’t afford to treat people like the utilities do. Being available in person is still going to be a key reason your customers come back.

 

2. User reviews

Over 90% of online users are hesitant to buy something when there are no user reviews. In other words, the vast majority of people buying from you online won’t do it if they don’t see reviews. They want written reviews and comments, not star ratings.

For those of you worried about negative reviews… well, you can’t please everyone all of the time! In the same survey, about ⅓ of buyers won’t buy if they see a negative review.

Of course, if you’re using personalized and personable customer service, you should have many more positive reviews than you do negative ones. Make sure you’re asking for reviews!

 

3. Gig and remote workers

Both of these are good news for small businesses.

Gig workers are contractors and freelancers who generally prefer the freedom to be their own boss and take whichever jobs they prefer. As a small business you’re not responsible for their healthcare or retirement plans, which cuts down on your costs.

Remote workers are your employees, but they don’t necessarily work at your location. Not maintaining a physical office when you don’t need to can help you save a lot of money, while still being able to delegate the tasks out that shouldn’t be priorities for you. 

Using remote workers also means that you can search outside your local talent pool, if necessary. The perfect person for the job might live 3,000 miles away. With remote work, that’s not a problem.

 

4. Alexa, tell me how to grow my business

Smart speakers are taking over! The number of voice searches for web browsing is increasing, as gadgets such as Alexa and Google Home become more popular.

Voice optimization will be key for small businesses. We’re all already familiar with SEO optimization for web browsing. 

Since people don’t speak in keywords when they talk, smart businesses will learn how to optimize their sites for voice searches that involve more than just keywords.

How are you leaping ahead in business this year? Tell us in the comments!

We love user reviews too on our Amazon store – especially if you have pictures!