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Guest Post: 5 Consumer Trends Small Business Owners Should Be Aware Of

This week we feature an article by Devin Pickell, Growth Marketing Manager at Privy. He shares the five consumer trends organizations can use in their next campaigns and strategy. It’s difficult to stay on top of everything as a small business owner, especially in today’s fast-paced environment. So getting a competitive edge on what your […]

This week we feature an article by Devin Pickell, Growth Marketing Manager at Privy. He shares the five consumer trends organizations can use in their next campaigns and strategy.

It’s difficult to stay on top of everything as a small business owner, especially in today’s fast-paced environment. So getting a competitive edge on what your consumers prefer can be extremely beneficial for your business. 

After careful research and talking with other brands, we put together five consumer trends that will take shape over the next few years. Use this information to inform future strategies and campaigns your business will be running. 

  1. More consumers want text messages from brands

Did you know that 8 out of 10 consumers say they’re enrolled in at least one text message marketing program? Or that 63% of online shoppers have made at least one purchase within the last 90 days from a text marketing campaign? 

SMS marketing has been one of the fastest-growing sales channels in the past few years as consumers become more comfortable with exchanging their phone numbers for exclusive offers and promotions from online retailers. 

We know that online shopping increasingly occurs through mobile devices, so it makes sense that consumers want offers sent directly to their fingertips. Consumers are also on their smartphones now more than ever. Finally, email marketing fatigue and clogged inboxes has contributed to the rise of SMS marketing. 

Being able to text with customers allows for a direct line of communication and allows your brand to build one-on-one relationships with subscribers. Your messages will cut through crowded inboxes and make your offers seem more personalized, timely, and intimately attention-grabbing. 

Takeaway: Consider using SMS in your small business if you aren’t already, as there are tons of affordable options out there right now while it’s early. But don’t get rid of email altogether. We find that pairing your SMS and email marketing offers together allows for the best results. Either way, your customers will appreciate the option to opt-in for their preferred marketing channel. 

  1. Consumers are taking their online security more seriously than ever

Unfortunately, with technological innovation comes more ways to target consumers for scams. According to data from TechRepublic, people are becoming increasingly concerned about what happens when they share their contact and/or financial information with online merchants: 

  1. 86% of people surveyed reported growing fears about their online personal security. 
  1. 78% admitted that they’re concerned about what data companies collect on them. 
  1. 40% say they don’t trust that companies are actually keeping their data safe.

So what does this mean for your small business? That you need to build trust with new and existing customers so they know their sensitive information is safeguarded.  

Provide safe and secure browsing and checkout process in your online store, no matter what device your customers use to shop. Display trust badges throughout your website to give them confidence in your protective measures, and make sure your site is up-to-date with the latest security features. And if customers require extra measures, they should look for a dark web scanner to get a full security analysis. 

Takeaway: Prioritize your online security or risk losing customers/hurting customer trust. 

  1. Consumers want easy access to support

When customers reach out to your business, they want to be acknowledged and feel seen, regardless if they reached out via social media, phone, or email. Adding friction to your support process is one of the quickest ways to hurt your reputation with customers, even longtime customers. 

Ignoring your social DMs or leaving customer support emails for a few days may lead to negative comments on social media and review platforms. As a small business, these negative comments and reviews can have a big impact. 

While providing “always on” support is easier said than done, there are a few ways to make things easier on yourself and make your customers happier: 

  • Automate post-purchase and order confirmation emails so that your customers are in the loop every step of the way. 
  • Master one or two support channels before overwhelming your team with tickets from multiple sources. 
  • Make your support channels easy to find on your website and be as responsive as possible when tickets come through. 

Takeaway: Be more available to your customers and online shoppers, and don’t shy away from candid conversations with customers. They’ll appreciate your personalized responses more than you know. This level of support and personalization is what will set your small business apart from other brands. 

  1. Make ‘try before you buy’ simple

Whether it’s a free online trial or a free product sample, ‘free’ has always been one of the best ways to let customers test the waters with your business. They can see what your products are really like before committing to buying the full experience. 

Samples are especially vital for online businesses. Because shoppers can’t physically engage with your products in person, worries about how your items may appear, smell, feel, etc., may prevent them from making a purchase if the product description isn’t up to par. 

Takeaway: Find creative ways to give shoppers a free taste of your brand, and have some fun with it.   

  • Run free product giveaways on your social media channels occasionally.  
  • Offer to send potential customers a freebie in exchange for their phone number or email address on your website. 
  • Send your existing customers samples of products they haven’t tried yet with each order — and a discount code to buy the full-size version next time. 

You could also provide a money-back guarantee or a free trial to help ease shoppers’ minds. This risk-free offer shows they have nothing to worry about and subtly encourages sales. People will make purchases they may have been on the fence about if you use trust-building strategies like these.  

  1. Free and fast shipping is the standard

A whopping 8 in 10 customers admit that free shipping makes them more likely to purchase from brands. While it’s not feasible to compete with big-box retailers, you’ll need to at least offer a threshold for customers to receive free shipping. 

Forcing customers to pay the cost of shipping may lead to an increase in cart abandonment rates. In fact, Sleeknote charted the most common reasons people leave their carts, and shipping costs were the top reason: 

Reasons for Abandonment During Checkout

Takeaway: Small businesses must figure out how to offer free, fast shipping without losing money. Crunch the numbers and make this incentive possible during your checkout stage, or risk losing business. 

If your small business is looking to sell without carrying tons of inventory, you can consider adding drop shipping as a way to relieve some of the stress of shipping. It could also help cut costs. 

Now you know 

Now you have a competitive edge on what consumers are looking for. Use this article as your roadmap for what to tackle first. Go through each takeaway and craft a winning game plan that makes the most sense for your small business

Devin Pickell is a Growth Marketer at Privy. He combines his skills in content marketing, SEO, data analysis, and marketing strategy to meet customers at the right moment in their journey.

employee productivityFor more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to

Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Selling To Gen-Z: This Is What They Want


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