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The busiest consumer spending period of the year – the holiday shopping season – is just around the corner. For the little guys, all eyes are on Small Business Saturday, the nationwide movement that encourages consumers to shop at small businesses instead of large stores. The day is critical to small business success, with 78% of small business owners saying the 2021 Christmas sales would impact their ability to keep their doors open this year.
Many of these small CPG businesses scale up from scratch – often selling and sharing products through basic avenues such as farmers’ markets, Etsy, festivals, and fairs. Eventually, it becomes clear that a self-contained 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 to compete. Deloitte’s holiday forecasts predict that holiday sales will total $1.45 trillion to $1.47 trillion between November 2022 and January 2023, with $5.14 billion spent on Small Business Saturday alone. So how can your small business stand out in an increasingly crowded market? Expanding your customer base with an online presence right away is a good start.
Here’s everything you need to know to engage with consumers digitally as you win new business, create efficiencies and build 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 idea of taking your small business from a farmer’s market gig to a robust online offering can be daunting. Not only does it mean you’re more visible to the public than ever before, but there are new areas you can manage for inventory, order management, billing, sales, and more – not to mention the work it takes to get online. 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 at your disposal to make creating an app or website not only accessible, but also faster and even easier than you might have imagined. Historically, building any kind of web platform, such as an app, requires the expertise of a skilled developer.
But with today’s technology, you can create a custom app tailored to your business needs without needing a highly technical background. What was once a highly technical task can now be done by anyone: opening doors for new customers, an improved customer experience and more.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing: How to Improve Your Business’s Digital Presence
For small businesses, efficiency is key
You work with fewer resources than the big boys, so it’s imperative that you stay organized to stay competitive. An online and omnichannel digital presence gives you the ability to effectively manage your entire business – including everything from accounting to workforce management and hosting all your retail systems in one place.
By creating your own app, you can integrate the digital systems you already use, such as accounting software or payroll tools, into one online platform or application to streamline operations. Track the exact location of items and monitor inventory levels through one central application interface, instead of manually updating multiple spreadsheets and paper documents. You can manage orders from multiple channels, such as social media or physical stores, all in one central location, including adding capabilities for integrated shipping tools and refund management. By connecting your app directly to your payroll, you can track your staffing needs and plan accordingly.
On the more technical side, custom apps give small business owners new access to vast amounts of data and analytics in one centralized place. You put all this new information directly into your customers’ minds, helping you better understand their buying behavior. Having a digitized presence also provides suggestions for upsell opportunities and predictions for what customers want to see in your store later.
Related: The 2022 holiday season will bring about a shift in consumer behavior. Here are 3 ways you can prepare
Get to know your customers personally
It’s no secret that consumers tend to show more loyalty to brands that ‘get’ them. This loyalty can lead them to spend more 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 in your business strategy. An app gives you an instant connection to your customers and their shopping preferences, opening the door to new possibilities for personalization and customized recommendations.
With an app you can analyze customer behavior such as which items they buy, from where and much more. This helps you make more informed decisions about targeted promotions to increase your customer retention and loyalty.
From birthday coupons to loyalty programs and special rewards for loyal customers, you can introduce incentives and drive repeat business 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 scale a small business is now and it’s more important than ever to be prepared for success. An online presence with apps and digital stores 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 permanently opens new doors for your small business, and the fact that all business operations are centralized in one system simplifies your day-to-day processes – a win for everyone this Small Business Saturday and beyond .