5 Small Business Trends in 2021

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If 2020 was a year of disruption for small businesses, 2021 is all about continued evolution. From enhancing your digital presence to working virtually with remote work, small businesses will have adopted various strategies to stay afloat in the highly competitive market. To set yourself up for success, in this video, we’ll go through five small business trends to watch out for this year. 

1. Focus more on Retaining Customers

Rather than struggling to gain new customers, small businesses are now focusing on retaining their existing customers. Unsurprisingly, customers are now looking for more than just quality products or services- they also expect excellent customer service. Each year business trends usually highlight the importance of retaining customers. Responding to customer feedback, re-examining customer service policies and using a more compassionate voice in marketing materials are some of the many ways to build trust with customers and create brand loyalty. If your brand lacks empathy, vision and a strong identifiable purpose, customers won’t resonate with your goals and will actively look for competitors in the market. Other effective methods to retain customers include memberships, rewards and loyalty programs, subscriptions for products or ongoing personal and home services. Research has shown that nearly 68% of business owners are focused on tailoring content and thoughtful messaging. It’s safe to say that investing in customer satisfaction will allow your business to not only thrive but also stay on top.
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2. Digital Presence and Social Media

Statistics reveal that up to 97% of customers research a local business online before visiting the physical store, which clearly indicates that a massive majority of consumers now use social media platforms to make purchasing decisions. This further explains why digital marketers are investing in data-driven campaigns, such as paid ads and social media marketing, more than ever before. Therefore, to create a convenient experience for your customers in 2021, it’s crucial to create a smoothly running, mobile-friendly website, alongside increasing customer engagement across social media platforms. Depending on the type of small business you run, you can also build an e-commerce platform; include a variety of online payment options or digital wallets; develop an app for your business and offer contactless delivery.

3. Further e-commerce Expansion

Pivoting to e-commerce may have been optional for businesses in the past but in the current era, it’s a necessity. With a steep increase in internet usage during the pandemic, there’s a clear opportunity for small businesses to thrive on e-commerce. Besides the digital marketing methods mentioned earlier, your business can also benefit from further e-commerce expansion. This includes establishing partnerships and collaborating with other local businesses, which can help supplement your product or service, bringing in greater profits at a faster rate.  Other strategies to boost your e-commerce expansion include improving conversions with multiple payment options and upgrade the overall buying experience. Around 80% of online customers are more likely to confirm their orders if the option of same-day delivery and free shipping is available, so make sure to include that.

4. Focus on Local

Business trends leading into 2021 is the drive of consumers to support small businesses and local economic growth. Consumers are starting to shift their priorities, especially after witnessing local establishments struggle or close their doors during the pandemic. Recent surveys reveal that nearly 59% of customers would rather buy from a small local business than a large corporation. Small scale business owners can use this trend to their advantage by investing in local marketing and community growth. In addition to boosting your digital presence, consider participating in community fundraisers, local charities or partnering with nearby local suppliers. This is how your business can thrive even more as the number of consumers opting to shop local continues to increase.

5. Work Flexibility

Unsurprisingly, remote work has become the norm this year despite many businesses having to adapt to it swiftly. Although remote work can be challenging when it comes to communication and collaboration, it does come with its own benefits such as flexible working hours and increased productivity. With fewer overhead costs due to closed office spaces and work-from-home opportunities, companies are able to build savings and spend more on upgrading software or increased digital marketing. Needless to say, a permanent move toward online and remote work is one of the most important business trends for 2021. Research has shown that more than 80% of business leaders will continue to allow work flexibility for at least some time, while 47% plan to let employees work from home permanently. Hence, small business owners need to not only follow the remote work trend but also ensure virtual efficiency with it. This means that virtual teams of employees working from home must be on the same page and stay in synchrony, by making use of apps and online tools.   To make the most of the brighter year ahead, take heed of these industry trends which are here to stay and will definitely help all small businesses thrive.  Let us know your thoughts on this video about business trends in the comments below!

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