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7 small business trends you should know about to stay relevant

These days, more and more consumers are opting to support small ventures. But how do you stay ahead? By knowing every trend small businesses have a stake in—and since millennials are a major demographic, they have a huge impact on these trends. Here, we’ve rounded up key trends you can adopt to stay relevant to the growing millennial market.

1. Website

Since your customers are tech-savvy, you too must embrace technology to connect with them. The majority of Canadians are going online, so a website is a must for every small business. But your website should also be built so that it appears in search pages when people are looking for businesses like yours. For this reason, it is important to know how Search Engine Optimization or SEO works and to keep evolving your search engine strategy. And since 76% of Canadians own a smartphone to research, compare and shop, your website should also be mobile-friendly. But that’s a good thing since, incidentally, Google takes your site’s mobile responsiveness into account when it decides how high to place your website on search result pages.

2. Automation

Unlike in the past, technology solutions are now more accessible to small businesses. Cloud-based solutions and services that are accessible over the Internet and don’t require expensive hardware have made it possible for small businesses to afford solutions only enterprises could afford before. In fact, many of today’s solutions are especially developed or tailored to cater to small businesses. Moving forward, technology will be essential for all small businesses as they automate, streamline and standardize processes to save both their customers and employees time.

3. Ecommerce

Busier consumers have a higher demand for convenience—so there’s a growing shift towards ecommerce, which is now becoming mainstream. This is great for businesses as they can sell more online—58% of shoppers add more items to their virtual shopping carts than they would in a store so they can get free-shipping. In fact, ecommerce on mobile, or m-commerce, is gaining even more popularity, so make sure your ecommerce site is mobile-friendly.

4. Mobile payments

With the advancement of smartphone capabilities, more businesses are incorporating the convenience of contactless mobile payments. From Apple Pay to Google Wallet, there are numerous payment solutions that small businesses are incorporating to meet the growing demand for the ease of mobile payments in Canada.

5. Building relationships

Despite the rise of technology, consumers are also craving personalized service experiences. 69% people prefer to shop with small businesses if the owner knows their name. Small businesses will be capitalizing on the edge they have over their larger counterparts by connecting with their customers instead of simply selling to them. So friendly face-to-face customer service, taking the time understand your customers’ needs and building stronger relationships will be key.

6. Chat bots

Many customers are now using messaging apps like Facebook Messenger to interact with businesses. As an alternative to a phone call and the inevitable voicemail, chat provides a quick and easy way for people to get the answers they need before deciding to make a purchase. Artificial Intelligence or chat bots are a quick and easy way for small businesses to provide customers the assistance and experience they want without the cost of an online customer service representative. This service is already popular and becoming an expected part of quality customer service.

7. Content

Small businesses are now taking on the role of helpful adviser to their customers. Businesses that are producing and distributing informative content that helps consumers in decision-making are earning their customers’ trust and loyalty. While blog posts and ebooks are the cornerstone content pieces you need to engage your customers, video content is a rising trend. It captures your viewers’ attention more effectively—in fact, videos are appearing more and more on social media advertising because they attract customers so well! And as smartphones get better and better, it’s become possible for small businesses to create quick low-budget videos that keep their customers engaged.

Your small business can have an edge over enterprises—but you also have to make sure you are staying up-to-date with the evolving millennial market needs. Ensuring you’re incorporating the right technology to offer great experiences will keep your business relevant and desirable to this growing audience.

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About Shop The Neighbourhood

Shop The Neighbourhood is a Yellow Pages initiative to encourage local shopping and support for small businesses. Shop The Neighbourhood raises awareness of the large-scale push from retailers both online and across the border which moves dollars away from the small businesses and directly impacts the health of our neighbourhoods and our communities.

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