The past two years have changed the way businesses operate and use digital tools. So what's next? There are 3 key digital opportunities that can help you to grow and sustain your business.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses owners interact with customers and run day-to-day operations. More than ever, consumers want and expect businesses to provide online interactions, so it's important to keep up to date of the latest trends and opportunities.
Here are three key digital trends for small businesses to be aware of in 2022.
Trend 1: Online Shopping and Payments
Online shopping has kicked into overdrive since the start of the pandemic. The need and desire to have fast and easy online shopping, payment and delivery became a priority for many who were unable or unwilling to leave home to shop for essentials.
Online shopping has become the norm for many who had never done it before. A good portion of growth in online purchases is attributed to people aged 50-75 years old, who found it to be the answer to their lockdown problems and they learned that they could do contactless digital payments both online and offline.
The time to start selling online is yesterday. In a mid/post-pandemic market, everyone is an online shopper. In 2022, a priority for business owners should be to make their e-commerce process as seamless as possible and consider a broader demographic.
Trend 2: Video at all Stages of the Customer Journey
In 2021, many businesses used video throughout the customer journey from start to finish. Video allows businesses to invite their customers closer to the brand by offering them education and entertainment.
Once a customer has engaged with a business, video can serve as a great tool for providing assistance from afar. Using QR codes to connect customers to a video tutorial or more information about a product is a great way to encourage engagement after your product has been purchased.
Expectations in terms of the professional quality of videos have also been relaxed. With the rise of social media video platforms, businesses have been given the opportunity to show off their creative and playful sides by recreating trending videos. Imperfections in videos like these humanise businesses and provide a new way to explain their brand personality.
Use video to engage with your audience before, during and after the consumer purchase cycle in order to encourage more engagement with your customers.
Worry less about having high production value in your videos and more about sharing the character of your business.
Trend 3: Improvements in Customer Service
Businesses had to be more empathetic with their customers in 2021. Many businesses that have been successful throughout the pandemic haven't taken a cost savings approach, they have gone for growth. Two of those growth strategies have been to:-
- Invest in technology to improve their customer’s experience.
- Increase customer service staff to provide human connection with those staff working from home.
In 2022, a personalised service has become a basic expectation from customers. This means remembering personal information, such as location, preferences and shopping history, and providing tailored recommendations based on that information.
Live chat is no longer a "nice-to-have" feature. It's best practice for any modern business website. For customers, having immediate access to a customer service assistant is a big plus because it gives them the opportunity to have questions answered on the spot without needing to pick up the phone or wait for an email response.
Use your existing e-commerce data to provide personalised recommendations for repeat customers and use your online reviews to improve your customer service. Empower your staff to provide excellent service and use live chat to be there for your customers when they need you.