The past two years have been a test of agility and perseverance for small business owners. From pandemic safety measures to staffing and inventory shortages, staying afloat and figuring out how to thrive have been more challenging than ever.
And predicting what’s around the corner has often proven to be a fool’s errand.
But there are clear and valuable insights to carry forward, and trends that are sure to stick around and evolve in 2022. Developing innovative ways to deliver products to customers, investment in recruiting, and leveraging technology are crucial areas of focus that will set small businesses ahead of their competitors.
Here are seven small business trends for 2022, and tips for staying ahead of the curve.
Nearly every business pivoted how products reach customers during the pandemic, from curbside pick-up and takeout to online ordering and subscription services. Expect innovative product delivery strategies to continue into 2022
Nearly 90% of respondents in QuickBooks’ Small Business Insights survey say online sales will be an important source of revenue in 2022. Investment in online ordering platforms for restaurants and retail can pay off with both new and loyal customers.
Touchless payment methods are here to stay — even the largest transportation system in North America has implemented a tap-to-pay option. Not only have customers come to expect quick, easy, and flexible payment methods, they make business behind the counter run more smoothly as well.
Meet customers in line or at the curb with the handheld Clover Flex, smoothing out their shopping experience, or set up a customer-facing POS with the Clover Station Duo to minimize multi-touch surfaces. The more flexibility you offer, the more likely you are to meet customers where they’re comfortable and encourage repeat business.
Many small businesses have survived the pandemic with essential support from their communities and loyal customers. Nurturing connections with people who have demonstrated that they value your business is key to future longevity and growth.
More than 80% of respondents in the Forbes Small Business Survey said they’d be focusing on customer experience in 2022. That could mean offering specials or services catered to what customers want, thinking creatively about product delivery, or rewarding customer loyalty. Clover Rewards can promote and run a loyalty program, alert customers directly or on social media of special promotions, and engage repeat customers to drive even more business.
Staffing strategies are important for the growth of any business. Almost half of the small businesses surveyed by QuickBooks plan to expand their workforce over the next three months into 2022. Finding new employees has been a challenge for many businesses, but a targeted approach can yield the best results.
Start by asking current employees for referrals they can vouch for. Share job listings on your business social media channels, to draw potential candidates who are more likely to be enthusiastic about your business. Clover Homebase Hiring app can help you create and post a job listing across multiple sites and keep candidates organized.
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of paying careful attention to employee wellbeing and mental health. Nearly three-quarters of small business owners surveyed by Forbes report that talent would be a top investment in 2022. Over a third said their focus would be on improving employee mental health, and another third aims to focus on maintaining work-life balance.
The ability to easily coordinate time off, and manage hours around family commitments, is key to workplace contentment. Clover Schedule and Time Clock apps allow employees to message each other (and you) directly about covering shifts, and easily track their hours. Payroll can also be integrated across the apps to make timely compensation easy and efficient.
Supply chain disruptions are likely to continue for some time. Looking ahead through the next year, developing strategies to coexist and mitigating uncertainty are the best ways for businesses to move forward. That starts by carefully tracking inventory and customer demand.
Clover Shopventory details what’s selling quickly and profitability per item, so you can focus on stocking and marketing products with the best return on investment. Clover Reporting can also break down the top five products customers are buying and at what pace, so you can stay ahead of the sales curve and stock smartly. You can also allow customers to check ahead online what’s available in store with Pointy from Google, so they know you’ll have what they want.
The need to adopt the latest technology has only accelerated with the challenges presented by the pandemic. Almost all small business owners surveyed by QuickBooks say digital technology will be important to their business in 2022. Investment in cloud services, for ease of remote and flexible business operations — and to reach more customers — is top of mind for many small business owners heading into the next year.
Clover POS systems and app market deliver the technologies that are key to staying ahead of the curve, and your competitors, in 2022 and beyond.
If you’re interested in learning how Clover can help you run your business better this year, connect with a Clover Business Consultant today.