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With the US experiencing a resurgence in COVID-19 due to variants, the need to re-introduce health safety measures continues to affect small business operations. Small businesses can pivot more quickly to explore new opportunities and maintain the business trends that will continue to dominate through 2022 and beyond. Resilience and adaptation of business models to navigate continually changing conditions are essential to continued profitability.
The Rise of E-Commerce for Small Businesses
E-commerce will continue to be a business priority. IBM’s US Retail Index data in 2020 shows a five-year acceleration in shifting from physical stores to digital shopping primarily due to pandemic constraints. Even if you maintain a physical storefront, take-out restaurant, or farmers market, you need to evolve into a digital storefront and introduce omnichannel fulfillment capabilities to remain competitive. This process takes advantage of various ways to fulfill orders while seamlessly integrating your company’s channels to process these orders smoothly. Shoppers expect a retail storefront to have an online option and expect a trouble-free e-commerce experience, including mobile-friendly sites.
Small businesses must pay heed to the proliferation of payment options available and offer alternative payment options to their subscribers and single purchase shoppers. Successful small businesses accept some form of no-touch payment, including contactless cards and digital wallets or other apps that store credit and debit card information on a mobile device. Depending on your business, you may even consider accepting cryptocurrency like bitcoin as payment.
Payment systems require a secure and reliable website and payment services. Identifying the suitable payment options for your small business may require the services of a specialist. Expert payment consulting businesses help you understand the complexity of integrating payments, which can be overwhelming or confusing. If you do not understand the difference between a payment gateway versus a payment processor, your business may benefit from professional guidance.
Remote work is here to stay, particularly for small businesses. While Google and other larger firms are sometimes encouraging and sometimes instructing employees to return to the office space, many employees opt to accept a reduction in salary to remain remote or seek remote employment elsewhere. Depending on your type of small business, you may need to invest in additional software solutions and technology as we advance to ensure harmonious yet profitable telework. A GGV Capital survey shows small business owners are continuing to increase software solution expenditures to meet the demands of telework and remote employees.
The Demand for Virtual Services for Small Businesses
According to the US Chamber of Commerce, virtual service offerings will continue to be in high demand. Depending on the focus of your small business, you may be able to leverage virtual services to your customers. The pandemic continues to increase demand for specific business types, especially those related to technology, virtual health, and fitness, specifically:
- At-home fitness
- Fast-food franchises
- Food delivery
- Gaming (consoles, PC, mobile devices)
- Home improvement
- Remote work software
- Virtual events
Small business and commerce landscapes continue to shift in the US, indeed globally. Some companies were fortunate and positioned in a business sector experiencing enormous leaps in demand. Your small business may not currently fit in these models that will continue to grow demand in 2022 and beyond. If not, you may need to re-evaluate the viability of your small business moving forward in a changing world. Person-to-person needs and virtual experiences are forever changing this pandemic world. Position your small business to center around growing trends or consider changing or starting a second business focusing on technology, recreation, or service to ensure your profitability while meeting the needs of ever-changing consumer behavior.
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