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The business world has experienced a remarkable transformation in the last few years, and entrepreneurs have responded with tremendous flexibility. This could be a major cause of the optimism of small business owners looking forward; 66% anticipate an increase in revenue, while more than half intend to expand their enterprise in 2023.

As we move toward 2023, there are numerous challenges and opportunities that will arise for both short-term and long-term operations. It is difficult to say what the future holds, but having an informed idea of what might come can help you stay prepared. Small business owners should keep an eye on the following trends as we progress through the year.

Continued growth in e-commerce.

There’s no denying the growth of e-commerce and social commerce in the market. Recent statistics show that more than half of global internet users purchase something online each week. This number is likely to remain high, as experts are forecasting that the global e-commerce industry will reach an impressive $8.1 trillion by 2026. Social media has also emerged as a crucial part of the market, with customers now able to buy directly on platforms like Facebook and Pinterest. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, it may be time to rethink your sales model and adjust accordingly.

Don’t overlook traditional brick and mortar stores.

Though e-commerce has seen a sharp rise, brick and mortar stores still remain relevant. In fact, most customers (61%) still prefer to try products in person before they buy. Therefore, retailers should consider taking an omnichannel approach in order to keep up with customer expectations. This could include installing chatbot technology, optimizing for voice search on a website, or offering services like self-checkout in-store. As it stands, over half of retail shoppers surveyed in North America have already used self-checkout.

Safety is important to your customers.

To ensure the safety of your customer’s data, investing in the right measures is crucial. Fraud prevention tools, reputable payment providers, and an SSL certificate are some of the ways you can build trust and protect your customers’ data. As online transactions become ever more common, shoppers are increasingly concerned about the security of their information, so these steps are essential for providing reassurance.

Sustainability is also an essential component. 

It’s clear that sustainability is a priority for both businesses and consumers alike. In fact, 76% of consumers have taken steps to purchase more sustainable products in the past 12 months. For businesses to meet this demand, consider making this process more eco-friendly, such as using low-waste packaging for their products. By doing so, companies can demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility and meet the expectations of today’s customers.

Customer experience remains the top priority.

The customer experience should be priority number one of your strategy. Whether in-person or online, ensure your customers have an enjoyable experience. For in-store encounters, consider hosting fun pop-up events to personalize the experience. On the web, create an immersive experience to capture the attention of your online customers. For example, if you offer apparel, you may want to invest in virtual try-on technology. Research shows that customers value experience more than price and product quality.