As the old joke and cliché goes, it’s notoriously difficult to predict anything, particularly the future. But with the New Year just around the corner, it’s worth getting the low down on a couple of potential big trends for 2012 that could really help your small business.
The Social Shopping Network
Social networks have become powerful marketing tools for connecting businesses with their customers, allowing them a quick and easy way to blanket clients with information about their new products and latest promotions. But these networks are fast developing into marketplaces in their own right. Facebook’s Payvment, Amazon’s Webstore, Shoply, Etsy and eBay among others allow businesses to create social network storefronts. They have created bustling virtual shopping malls, with tens of thousands of vendors. When you get back in the office it’s worth taking the time to find out about these sites so you can try to get your head around how they can help your business. Your potential upside could be immense: They can direct more traffic to your website, generate more sales and provide a scalable way for you to grow your small business on the web.
The Mobile Generation
Many more people – no matter how old they are – now use their smartphones to help them shop, so find out how your business can go mobile in 2012. Businesses are creating their own mobile websites and “apps” for smartphone users complete with their own special offers. You can add geo-location data to guide customers straight to your shop door. Also, the likes of Google Wallet and PayPal Mobile offer customers the ability to pay for goods simply and securely either by using a checkout button on mobile sites or by tapping their smartphones against terminals in stores. These tools offer small businesses the opportunity to increase their conversions through the use of mobile devices.