4 trends that will reshape the small business landscape in 2022 and beyond

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We all know that over the past couple of years the one constant for small business owners has been change. Thousands of companies changed their business model early in the pandemic, introducing new products or services and adopting new channels to reach their customers. Thousands more have started new businesses, spotting untapped opportunities in our collective “new normal”.

Now, as we head into 2022, we see the impacts of the past two years crystallize and new trends emerge, like the beginnings of the metaverse to change the way we define small business and how small businesses operate – online. , offline and in between.

A few weeks ago, I met my colleague Pooja Piyaratna, who leads Meta’s commercial product marketing group for small businesses. Together, we’ve identified four trends that will reshape the small business landscape in 2022 and beyond.

The evolution of entrepreneurship

A lucky byproduct of the pandemic has been a burst of creativity. All over the world, people have reexamined previously held assumptions – such as the need to conduct certain business exclusively in person – and exciting new ideas and businesses have sprung up. It has effectively redefined what it means to be an entrepreneur, adding more diversity to the small business space. In 2022, this trend will accelerate further, as a record number of businesses are expected to be created. One of the most interesting developments is the increasing frequency with which we see designers turning their passion into a life. For example, Emily Delaney, the Cheese Board Queen, started off with a humble Instagram showing her love of cheese and charcuterie boards in 2019. Now, three years later, she runs virtual classes and workshops, partnering up regularly. with marks and has a book to come. with Penguin’s DK Books in the spring. Its story of sharing a passion online and turning it into a bona fide business is not unique, and we will see more of it in the future.

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The art and science of creativity

Over the past couple of years, small business owners have had no choice but to become increasingly creative with their digital presence. And for many, it opened new doors to drive sales and build their brand in the process. Live Shopping is a great example of digital technology that has helped businesses showcase their offerings while infusing their unique brand personality into an online experience. And for many, the beauty of entertaining live video combined with the convenience of shopping online has opened up new revenue streams that will linger beyond the pandemic.

Related: How to Keep Your Employees Focused and Motivated in 2022

Take the example of Kelley Cawley, owner of the Illinois store, who credits regular feeds on Facebook Live with making her customers more engaged than ever before, driving more traffic online and in person to her. store. To make Live Shopping a success, Kelley mixes the art of a fun Live experience with the science of digital tools and insights that help her understand what keeps her customers engaged. In fact, Crawley knows her sales have jumped 88% since implementing the direct buying strategy. Combining the art of creativity with a digital understanding of what drives success the most allows companies like Crawley’s to experiment, innovate, and make strategic decisions based on real data. In 2022, we can expect companies that have found a home online to experiment more – combining the art of creativity with data science tools – and ultimately find out which strategies work best for them.

Messaging paves the way for the next era of communication

Another interesting development is the way companies are using messaging to infuse personalization into their communications with their customers. People’s preferences for how they want to talk with businesses are changing. In the digital age, 75% of adults worldwide say they want to communicate with businesses through messaging, the same way they communicate with friends and family. As we move from the mobile internet to the metaverse, we know we’ll see businesses large and small working in more immersive formats to forge personal connections online. While it may seem like a long way off, the groundwork is already underway. For example, small businesses can now make video calls through Messenger, allowing them to talk and see their customers, helping them answer questions faster, provide better customer service, and of course, genuinely connect with each other. person to person.

Bridging the physical / digital divide

Many companies are now operating in a hybrid model, which means they maintain a physical presence while selling through e-commerce platforms that have become a necessity during the pandemic. In a way, we see the pandemic accelerating what ‘digital’ really means and as a result, there is no longer a binary divide between online or offline or digital and not digital. Take the example of Akila McConnell, owner of Unexpected Walking Tours in Atlanta. Before the pandemic, Akila’s company offered black history-focused walking tours in Atlanta. When the pandemic hit, she lost 100% of her income overnight. Akila pivoted online to sell gift boxes on Facebook and Instagram Shop that represented the best Atlanta has to offer and introduced virtual tours, pairing its physical offering with a new online experience. Figuring out how to balance and maintain in-person and digital experiences, and infuse the two experiences together will ensure that small businesses reach the largest customer base possible, without restricting them based on their geographic footprint, while providing the convenience that local customers crave. .

Related: Top 10 Changes Your Business Needs To Be Ready For In 2022

Despite all the changes and innovations that we have seen over the past few years that lie ahead in 2022, some things remain the same. The ability to watch, listen and connect with your customers will always be paramount to the success of small businesses, and now digital tools are making that easier than ever.

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