How Changing Consumer Behaviour Impact Small Businesses
In recent times there has been a lot of talk about changing customer behaviours and how it is impacting businesses worldwide. There is no denying that customers are the centre point of any business and all activities revolve around the consumers. Thus, to stay afloat businesses need to constantly stay focused on the latest consumer trends and evolve according to changing customer behaviours and expectations.
It is easier said than done though, especially for small businesses, since sometimes the changes require investing a huge amount of money. For instance, one of the recent changes in customers’ behaviour is expecting faster delivery of online shopping orders. Where it was normal even a few years back to wait eight to 10 days for an online order to arrive, customers today not only expect same-day delivery but sometimes within hours as well. It has cost large supply chain corporations millions to strategise and keep up with this changing expectation, including automating certain processes to reduce dependence on human labour.
Having said that, fortunately, most of the recent changes in customer behaviours have proven to be profitable for small businesses. Here is a list of changed consumer behaviours and how they have impacted small businesses.
Increase in Online Shopping
These are tough times. The global pandemic of covid-19 has affected everyone in some way or the other. The biggest change is probably that people have been forced to turn online for all their shopping needs. Even baby boomers who have mostly avoided doing anything online, have turned to online shopping portals to get their necessary supplies.
This spells good news for many small businesses that mostly operate online and have a presence only through their website and social media channels. While large enterprises are scurrying to create an online presence almost overnight to cater to this need of the moment, small businesses that already have digital presence can benefit by just working to make their marketing game stronger.
The advent of Social Media Shoppers
Social media has emerged to be a powerful marketing medium. So much so that social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram have even started marketplaces to allow small scale entrepreneurs to run their businesses from home. These marketplaces even allow individuals to sell.
There has been a marked increase in the selling and buying on social channels with people turning to these marketplaces to buy from local sellers. This change in consumer behaviour, of course, bodes well for local small business owners who can just start their business with nothing but a page on social media.
Customised Products and Services
Consumers today demand better customer service, faster delivery of the orders, customised and high-quality products and everything in between. In simple terms, they want everything but at a lower cost. Small businesses are well-placed to provide everything the consumers need and at the price they would be ready to pay. Especially customised products and services such as handcrafted kangaroo leather products or home-cooked authentic lamingtons.
This puts small local businesses at a much advantageous position over larger enterprises who can rarely provide much personalisation beyond a certain point. Another advantage of owning and running a small business during this changing customer behaviour is the ability to connect individually with each customer on a personal level.
People are more informed nowadays and it has a marked effect on their shopping behaviour. Shoppers are keener to shop from local small businesses as they understand the impact on the economy. That is not to say that consumers only care about the community. They are also well aware of the fact that local small businesses operate at a much lesser profit than their larger counterparts.
Today’s consumers are smart and informed. With most shopping done online now, people are spending even more time learning about businesses first before they make a purchase. If you can get quality, oftentimes handmade products at half or even one-fourth price, why should they run after a brand name that is anyway intangible? This doesn’t mean small businesses shouldn’t focus on creating a brand identity. It just means small businesses can do so by engaging more with the community, offering personalised products and providing excellent customer service.
It is a Good Time to Own a Small Business
The changing consumer behaviour considerably tips the scale in favour of small businesses. There is and will be no better time than now to be a small business owner. Take advantage of these changing customer behaviours to grow your small business.