Take a look at these seven trends that are likely to impact your small business in 2020..
1. Mobile-first communication
2020 is the year that communications really go mobile-native. The UK workforce will be made up of 35% millennials, 35% Gen X-ers and only 6% baby boomers by 2020. This tech-savvy workforce expects primarily mobile communications. Similarly, these groups are likely to now make up the biggest audience of your customers, so all small businesses should be trying to tailor marketing communications to mobile devices.
5G is already available in 22 towns and cities across the UK, and is planned for greater coverage in 2020, meaning workers and customers will have access to faster downloads and streaming at home and on the move.
The trend for anti-consumerism and reduction of waste is not going anywhere. As a small business, you have an opportunity to set yourself apart with authentic story-telling that creates a bond with customers and suppliers. Indeed, small businesses are seen to be leading the way in terms of greener manufacturing, packaging and production processes compared to their larger rivals and this offers a real opportunity for you to compete effectively for conscious consumers.
3. Reviews, reviews, reviews
New data shows that 92% of customers feel uncomfortable buying a product when there are no reviews available, and over 95% are influenced by reviews when making purchase decisions. Whatever your product, whether you sell online or offline, customer reviews are critical.
4. Flexible working
Attracting and retaining the best employees can be a major headache. Workers now rate their employment experience as importantly as salary – flexible working, maternity/paternity benefits, childcare, health benefits all add up to a more compelling package. Working from home has been shown to increase performance by 13%, and flexible working laws look set to be broadened in the UK in the near future.
The Gig economy can also help you to scale up expertise in areas where you can’t afford to hire permanent staff.
5. Stories, not news feeds
Social media is moving away from the news feed and towards ‘story’ content, with almost all social platforms seeing a shift in engagement towards temporary, more compelling content. Live streaming and ‘in the moment’ content has been growing fifteen times faster than static posts and offers a great opportunity for businesses to engage with potential customers.
6. Voice search and Artificial Intelligence
A.I. will not replace human workers any time soon, but should be considered as a co-worker, enabling you to increase efficiency without adding to your headcount.
Voice search has increased hugely over the past couple of years, with Gartner predicting that one third of all searches will be performed through a screen-less device like Alexa or Google’s smart speakers.
55% of teenagers now use voice search daily, and voice searches are becoming increasingly more accurate than text searches across all browsers. Consumer spending via voice assistants is forecast to reach 18% by 2022, equating to $40 billion. Groceries now account for over 20% of voice-based shopping.
7. Cashless society
The UK is leading the way towards a truly cashless society, as the 5th most advanced nation when it comes to contactless and online payments. PayPal, Google Pay and Apple Pay are becoming increasingly central to British shoppers as the UK moves away from accepting cash on public transport networks, and encourages retailers to go cashless. This trend is particularly important if you’re in the retail sector, where you need to accept as many different payment platforms as possible.