Future of Small Business Commerce (Part 2)

April 30, 2014

This is a follow-on blog post that covers some predictions on the future of small business commerce. Check out part 1 for complete context.

Here are 6 trends that you, and your business should consider:

User Generated Content = Gold
Continue to see more brands and businesses leveraging social media to advertise and showcase products (integrate consumer generated photos and videos into your ecommerce and review pages).

Mobile Shopping Tools/Apps
Big chains will offer companion tools for on/offline shopping. This already happens today, but better tools for customers and business owners. Walk down the aisle with companion apps that can price check, read reviews, manage your shopping list and ask for help. Who’s going to make the best companion app where groups/family can collaborate on shopping lists?

Exclusive Product Lines
Huge push for exclusive product lines. Big box outlets forced to spend big dollars experimenting and creating new product lines. New entrepreneurial hubs to incubate new product lines sponsored by big box chains. Great time for makers. Outlets are willing to experiment and take on more risk.

Interactive Shops & Shopping Experiences
As shopping malls close, businesses work together to deliver new shopping experiences. In other words, new ways to attract customers and keep them in store/ on premise for as long as possible. Focus on building environments where people want to be seen and heard. That could be expensive decor (think Vegas casinos), live performers, cool hangout areas, live product keynotes for brands, and fashion shows.

These experiences are extended to online interactive showrooms that customers access via desktops, tablets, mobile devices, or gaming consoles. Each platform offers new ways for consumers to discover and interact with products. This could be as simple as google hangouts with your favorite shop, or choose your own shopping adventure (stores offering different layouts, themes to shop from, or even virtual shops).

Personalized Shopping Assistants
Big data with online shopping behaviour, in-store behaviour, and past purchase history leads to some interesting opportunities for marketers, both on and offline. This new marketing method should be used for world class customer support, unfortunately this super power will be abused; iBeacons will pave the way.

Social Proof / Couponing
Expect to walk down the aisle, or browse products with local and relevant messaging as it relates to you, your network, and your community. More focus on social networks, reviews, referrals, community, and how people you know and trust make purchases. Coupons and unique offers sent strategically.

“Get $5.00 rebate if you provide video review within 30 days of using product.”

Great products + service + customer support = loyal customers + long tail WOM marketing.

New Model:
Great products + service + customer support + social proof = long term success.

Read the final instalment now.

Do you have any feedback?