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The busiest consumer spending time of the year – the holiday shopping season – is fast approaching. For the little guys, all eyes are on Small Business Saturday, the nationwide movement encouraging consumers to shop at small businesses rather than big box retailers. The day is critical to small business success, with 78% of small business owners saying holiday sales in 2021 will impact their ability to keep their doors open this year.
Many of these small CPG businesses operate from the ground up – often selling and sharing products through grassroots avenues like farmers markets, Etsy, festivals and fairs. Eventually, it becomes clear that a self-sustaining online presence is necessary to scale and grow your customer base.
In today’s consumer climate, it’s more important than ever for you to digitize in order to compete. Deloitte’s holiday forecast projects holiday sales to total $1.45 trillion to $1.47 trillion from November 2022 through January 2023, with $5.14 billion spent on small business Saturday alone. So how can your small business stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace? Instantly expanding your customer base with an online presence is a great place to start.
Here’s everything you need to know to digitally engage with consumers while winning new business, creating efficiencies, and increasing brand loyalty during the busiest time of the year.
Related: 5 Ways Small Business Owners Can Embrace Rapid Digital Change to Get Closer to Their Customers
Creating an app (mobile or web) is easier than it looks
The thought of taking your small business from a farmers market to a robust online offering can be daunting. Not only does this mean you’ll be more publicly visible than ever before, but there are new moving parts to manage in inventory, order management, invoicing, sales and more – not to mention the work it takes. takes to log in and decide which presence (web, mobile, or desktop app) makes the most sense for your business.
The good news is that you have hundreds of valuable resources to make building an app or website not only accessible, but also faster and even easier than you thought. Historically, creating any type of web platform, such as an application, required the expertise of a skilled developer.
But today’s technology means you can create a custom application tailored to your business needs, without the need for a highly technical background. What was once a highly technical task can now be done by anyone: opening doors to new customers, improving customer experience and much more.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing: How to Improve Your Business’ Digital Presence
For small businesses, efficiency is key
You work with fewer resources than the big guys, so it’s imperative for you to stay organized in order to stay competitive. Having an online, omnichannel digital presence gives you the ability to efficiently manage all of your operations, including everything from accounting to managing staff and hosting all of your retail systems in one place. .
By creating your own application, you can integrate the digital systems you already use, such as accounting software or payroll tools, into an online platform or application to streamline operations. Track the exact location of items and monitor stock levels through a central application interface, instead of manually updating multiple spreadsheets and paper documents. You can manage orders from multiple channels like social media or physical stores, all in one central location, which includes adding functionality for integrated shipping tools and refund management. Connecting your app directly to your payroll allows you to monitor your staffing needs and plan appropriately.
On a more technical level, custom apps give small business owners new access to vast amounts of data and analytics in one centralized place. All of this new information puts you right in the minds of your customers, allowing you to better understand their buying habits. Having a digitized presence also provides suggestions on upsell opportunities and predictions on what customers will want to see from your store in the future.
Related: The 2022 holiday season will bring a shift in consumer behavior. Here are 3 ways to prepare
Get to know your customers on a personal level
It’s no secret that consumers tend to be more loyal to brands that “catch” them. This loyalty can lead them to spend more money while encouraging their friends and family to do the same. By having an app specific to your business, you can become more data-driven and strategic when it comes to business strategy. An app gives you a direct line to your customers and their shopping preferences, opening the door to new opportunities for personalization and personalized recommendations.
Having an app allows you to analyze customer behavior such as what items they buy, from what location and much more. This helps you make more informed decisions on targeted promotions to increase your customer retention and loyalty.
From birthday coupons to loyalty programs and special rewards for long-time customers, you can introduce incentives and encourage repeat purchases through push notifications, flash sales, app-based coupons, loyalty programs , product recommendations and more. It’s about getting your customer to keep buying your product.
The optimal time of year to grow a small business is now, and being ready for success is more crucial than ever. Having an online presence with apps and digital storefronts gives you new opportunities to streamline your operations and get to know your customers on a whole new level. Meeting the needs of digital customers will ensure that new doors are always open for your small business, and centralizing all business operations into one system simplifies your day-to-day processes – a win for everyone this Saturday from small businesses and beyond.