These 4 Small Business Trends Are Defining 2017

The year is flying by and we are already more than three-quarters of the way through 2017. Now is the time for small business owners to look for ways to take their businesses to new heights in Q4. Here are four business trends to consider incorporating into your own business.

1. Customer relationship management innovation (CRM) – Small businesses are quickly gaining access to tools that put artificial intelligence and machine learning to work for them. CRM is one place these tools have started to make a huge difference. Rather than staffing a support line, businesses are turning to a format more familiar to many of their millennial customers. The chat window. Customers can get answers to their questions in real time. By typing messages to an artificially intelligent “chat bot” that supplies the information they need.

2. Small businesses can compete with ‘Big Box’ players – Small businesses in the retail space have struggled in the past from big box retailers, but new research suggests that this trend may be changing. Big box stores like Walmart and K Mart continue to take their licks from online retailers like Amazon, which have them beat on price and convenience. As big retailers struggle against e-commerce giants, smaller retailers with local expertise, curated selections, and great customer service suddenly have more breathing room .

3. Enterprise technology for small business – Powerful business programs have empowered small business owners to grow at a rate much faster and smarter than ever before. Once limited to only the largest firms, enterprise technology services are lowering the barriers to entry. Companies like Salesforce, Marketo, and Quickbooks now provide business infrastructures quickly and at scalable cost. Small businesses no longer have to rely on expensive technology investments. In fact, many of 2017’s small business triumphs have come as leaders put these tools to work.

4. Mobile payment platforms – As smartphones continue to dominate consumers’ lives, smart small businesses are following the money to the small screen. One of 2017’s defining trends is the proliferation of mobile payment options . TechCrunch estimates that by 2020, 90 percent of mobile device users will have made a mobile payment. It makes perfect sense. If a company’s advertising strategies are all geared toward mobile compatibility, why shouldn’t checkout and payment be just as seamless? Mobile payment applications such as Square and Apple Pay have been critical in increasing conversions. If your business hasn’t yet figured out how to get prospective customers to open up their wallets on the move, you’ve now got options.

The Bottom Line: With more than half of 2017 behind us, 2018 predictions have already begun to speculate. Make sure to take full advantage of these cutting-edge and realistic opportunities  and business trends so that you are poised for growth next year!