Businesses need to go into the new year with guns blazing.
2017 will bring a host of new challenges to business owners as new trends take hold in the marketplace and technology becomes increasingly important for business success. Entrepreneurs who prepare and adapt to these changes will find themselves in a promising position for business growth while those who lag will find themselves struggling to keep up with their competitors.
As the new year approaches, business owners should be thinking about marketing to millennials and incorporating technology into their daily workflow as well as their larger business strategies.
Here are a few trends small business owners need to stay on top of to be successful in the upcoming year:
Appeal to millennials
Millennials now make up the largest generation in the U.S., according to The Pew Research Center. This young, tech-savvy group will largely dictate consumer trends for years to come so retailers need to make sure they are catering to the preferences of this group right away. Millennial consumers value convenience and the ability to shop anytime, anywhere. In fact, according to a UPS survey, shoppers now make more than half of their purchases online, The Wall Street Journal reported.
To accommodate this group’s ferocious appetite for making purchases on the go, small businesses need to make sure they have a strong online and mobile presence. This might mean creating a smartphone app for the store or at least optimizing a brand’s website for mobile use. Platforms such as Magento, Vend and Shopify allow business owners without a lot of capital to create an online storefront, according to Entrepreneur. In this day and age, business owners who neglect to acknowledge online shopping as a legitimate form of commerce will lose out on customers and a lot of potential sales.
Business owners might need some help to get their online and mobile sites and up and running smoothly in time for the new year. Entrepreneurs who need to hire a professional to help them achieve their online goals should consider applying for alternative business financing. Unlike traditional banks that have onerous credit score requirements and long wait periods, alternative lenders can approve business owners for a loan in as little as one day with minimal hassle.
Retool your marketing strategy
More than ever before, retailers have to come up with new and innovative ways to reach customers. Consumer trends show customers moving away from static forms of advertising toward more interactive mediums such as video and mobile marketing tactics.
In fact, 55 percent of consumers said they pay most attention and engage with videos more than other forms of content, according to Hubspot’s Consumer Behavior Survey. That means it’s critical for business owners to allocate resources in their budgets for video advertising and similar mediums. Business owners who effectively leverage video as an advertising tool will position themselves to have success with consumers and experience business growth in 2017 and beyond.
Additionally, 25 percent of consumers use their smartphone as their primary source for information, according to Hubspot. More traditional tactics such as email campaigns might not be as effective with these consumers, so retailers have to start reaching out to them through mobile alerts. Stores can advertise sales, discounts or special events through text messages, which might increase the likelihood of these mobile-first consumers visiting the store and making a purchase.
Business owners who believe that revamping their marketing strategies for the new year is too expensive should look into acquiring a small business loan from an alternative lender.
Leverage consumer data
Retailers that aren’t analyzing customer data are already behind. Using CRM technology to understand consumer purchase habits, simplify supply chain management and create business strategies became a popular tactic in 2016, and it’s only going to become more important moving forward. Business owners who do not have CRM technology should seriously consider implementing it into their business strategy for the upcoming year.
It allows entrepreneurs to examine individual customer purchase histories, keep track of product sales, company promotions and deals, among many other things that aid business leaders in determining what their next step should be. Having this data gives individuals the ability to quickly identify which business strategies are working and which need to be rethought, saving the company time and money.
To finance any important technological upgrades for their company, business owners should look into an alternative business loan, which can give them the cash they need quickly to make sure their business stays competitive.