The economic shock that COVID-19 has delivered to small businesses is inexplicable. As a result, 2020 became the year where small businesses tried to keep their noses above the hot waters. While businesses struggled, they identified new opportunities and new approach towards managing business. It has been a learning experience for all and has only opened doors for the ‘new normal’. As the year 2020 has ended, there is hope and optimism that 2021 will have good things in store. In our blog, we shed light on some of the key learnings that small businesses have picked up in the year 2020 and will most certainly be the trends to practice in the New Year.
Ecommerce is the Golden Goose:
It is impossible to overemphasize how much COVID-19 has contributed to the growth and prominence of ecommerce in the last one year. With brick-and-mortar shops in shutters (because of lockdowns,) the general public had no option but to fall back on online shopping to meet their daily needs. It was the first time for many countries to witness millions of users shopping online daily. While in-store shopping is back on its feet – albeit in a restricted manner – the fact remains that online shopping has established itself as the number one habit among consumers, and this trend isn’t going to abate anytime soon. As a result, small businesses have realized that digital presence and operations are the keys to survival and profitability. This realization has unleashed a higher wave of small businesses developing eCommerce channels to cater to online shopping customers and driving brand awareness through online marketing channels such as social media.
Social Media Mania:
With social distancing protocols in force, businesses have turned to social media to ensure that brand awareness and customer loyalty are intact. Market research indicates that COVID-19 has been an eye-opener for small businesses. If small businesses do not make the most of social media marketing, then they must be ready for an imminent downward spiral in the near future. The availability of social media allowed brands and businesses to keep brand connections alive with their target customers. As a result, social commerce took off in a big way during the pandemic. Even though customer spending on social media wasn’t very high, it kept the revenue meters running nonetheless. The takeaway from this scenario for small businesses is – come on social media, stay there, be active, and the profits will come.
With in-store shopping experiences prohibited, consumers relied on their mobile devices to shop. After social commerce, it is mobile commerce that has soared because of COVID-19. Even before the pandemic disrupted business, mobile commerce was trending. More and more shoppers, who were unable to take a walk into their favorite outlets because of a time-crunch, used their mobile devices to shop in e-stores and making online payments. This practice has since accelerated exponentially during the pandemic. The lesson here is that small businesses speedily need to invest in building their mobile commerce platforms. They must be user-friendly, easy-to-navigate, and must offer attractive offers.
Counting the Discounts:
Another harsh reality of 2020 has been that COVID-19 has put a dent in public spending. Owing to different socio-economic factors, consumers around the world have been forced to put a leash on their spending habits. As a consequence, businesses – of all sizes – have been hurting from the bite of the pandemic. The upside for customers though has been that businesses proactively went on a discount’s spree on their products and services. It fueled demand, and companies witnessed a surge in sales (with narrower profit margins.) This trend of “more discounts more sales” is likely to stay afoot in 2021 and beyond. The not-so-secret sauce that small businesses need to adopt here is that they must introduce attractive discounts to attract customers and keep the cash registers ticking thus.
These trends clearly indicate the importance of having a good business plan in place which will cover important aspects such as ecommerce platform integration, social media marketing, good accounting software, ERP management and mobile commerce.