Republished from Forbes.com – 4 Business Trends Emerging From COVID-19, 22 April 2020
The world has certainly slowed down lately, leaving a lot of business owners either scrambling or strategizing. A few trends are emerging, and if considered, could give your business an edge up.
1. Mobile Commerce And No-Touch Alternate Payment Options
One area that is continuing to see innovation is how we pay for goods and services. This is especially true of online businesses, where many solopreneurs focus their efforts. Alternate payment methods like Apple Pay, PayPal and even bitcoin have all become increasingly prevalent, and you can leverage these options to gain more customers.
In fact, ACI Worldwide estimated that 55% of e-commerce purchases would be made with alternative “non-card” payments in 2019. You can only expect these numbers to increase in 2020 as more people become comfortable with the new options available on their smartphones. Give your customers more ways to “no-touch” pay, and you’ll be more likely to earn their business.
2. Leveraging Software
A lot of entrepreneurs are solopreneurs leaving them to be head chef and dishwasher. With the world running remote these days, adoption of backend technology has been paramount for entrepreneurs as they are turning to software to do the heavy lifting.
Many SMBs use lead management tools like Clever Hub, Dubsado, and vCita, which offer scheduling software, contact management, billing and other conversion tools. Business coach, Joelle Nwoke, explained on the vCita blog, “Before I had no control of my time. Even if I had to get off the phone, clients would keep talking. So now I set up my schedule so that I don’t take any calls until after two. I’m also able to invoice clients through the system.”
Brick and mortar businesses who have put off taking their offerings online, now have been forced to do so if they want to keep the doors open. Using an all-in-one technology to keep organized is a major focus.
3. Expanded Opportunities Using Automation
According to data compiled by invesp, “85 percent of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent by 2020.” Chatbots are estimated to be able to typically answer approximately four out of five “routine questions” that a business might receive. When people have a question, they find it easier to simply type a short message into a chat box rather than send an email or pick up the phone and call.
Other easily-integrated automation tools like Kajabi, help entrepreneurs selling information products to convert leads, bill and deliver to clients without always needing to be at their computers. Information products have seen a surge through this pandemic and solutions like Kajabi allow entrepreneurs to quickly jump into the market.
Implementing such tools can be a major time-saver. You can automate customer questions, as well as selling and delivering your products.
4. Demand For Faster Delivery
If you run an e-commerce brand that sells physical products, few issues are more important than shipping and logistics. For e-commerce brands, the issue may not necessarily be the ability to provide free shipping. Many consumers just want to get their order fast. From large retailers like Amazon, to boutique online stores like Frankie & Claude, e-commerce stores are offering many different shipping options to accommodate customers.
According to Retail Touch Points, 88% of online shoppers are “wiling to pay for same-day (or faster) delivery services.” Of course, charging too much for same-day delivery could also backfire. A study from McKinsey found that most customers feel that same day shipping shouldn’t cost more than 8% of the total price of their purchase.
Even with free shipping, however, expectations have changed. Survey data from RetailWire reveals that the average “maximum number of days people are willing to wait for an item to be delivered in exchange for free shipping has decreased from 5.5 days in 2012 to 4.1 in 2018.”
Be mindful of how you plan to ship products to your customers. Faster delivery could help you land even more sales in 2020.
Take these emerging trends into consideration as you move forward into the uncertain business landscape we are now facing. We’ll get through this!