Remember the pet rock? Some trends come and go. But others, like the Barbie doll, are still going strong. Sales of this iconic doll are showing double-digit increases this year. Some business ideas have staying power too. Here are four small business trends from Entrepreneur.com that are likely to continue into 2017.
Make Way for Millennials
Millennials, those aged 18-34, are now the largest consumer segment. They number 75.4 million, surpassing the baby boomers. They will have an impact on how you market.
Rather than listening to a sales pitch, Millennials prefer to have an ongoing conversation with you. Technology enables the discussion, often using social media. And they pay attention to what your customers say about you. So if you want to connect with this group, your business needs to be visible online, particularly on social channels.
Can your customers view your website on their mobile device? If they can’t, you may be missing out. Roughly 56 percent of consumer traffic to leading websites is now from mobile devices. Yet only half of small business websites are accessible on mobile. That means you can differentiate yourself if you have that functionality.
Small business owners on a budget can build their own mobile-friendly website using programs like Squarespace. Many of these programs also tie into your social media channels so you can present a consistent message.
The switch to a microchip credit cards is here. It can provide small businesses (and their customers) with greater security against fraud. But there’s another risk you need to be aware of. Currently, merchants are held liable for fraudulent transactions that do not use the microchip (or EVM) technology. So it’s in your best interest to start using it.
The Small Business Administration offers free, online training on how to use this new technology. In addition, Smart Card Alliance provides resources to help you make the transition.
Snare Big Data
Behind all of your technology is data. And it’s getting bigger each day. For example, your website can tell you who is visiting, what they’re looking at, and where they came from. All of this could be very useful information – if you could get at it. And then once you have it, you need to translate it into something actionable.
With all the demands on small businesses, that can be difficult to undertake. But companies like Cyfe can help you manage all of the information in one place. They provide a dashboard that links to the tools you use like Facebook, Google Analytics, or Shopify. It visually displays the information in charts and graphs. Then you can drill down for more information.
The lasting business trends eventually become the new standard. Consider whether these trends could lead your small business to more customers and more income in 2017.