Small Business News: 20 October 2023

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s SBN unveils the key consumer trends to be prepared for this holiday season, and how your business can invite shoppers to “make you an offer.”

hand swiping on a mobile

Mobile will dominate the peak season

Research company Forrester recently released its 2023 holiday season report1, and highlighted key trends from last year which it believes will be replicated this year. And there’s a clear message for retailers hoping to cash in: prioritize mobile.

“Smartphones play an integral role in every part of the shopping experience, from discovery to purchase and beyond,” the report said. It revealed that in 2022, 27% of US online shoppers found out about retailers’ holiday sales and promotions from mobile apps; 21% found out through coupon and discount apps; 15% from promotional text messages, and 11% from automatically applied promo codes within apps.

Have you thought about creating a dedicated mobile app for your e-commerce business? Discover the path to bigger sales, here.

man looking at tablet screen

Startup brings “Make an offer” button to Shopify stores

The art of price negotiation may traditionally be associated with offline retail – such as when buying a car – but one startup is hoping to change that. Ergo2 is developing pricing software that allows online shoppers to “make an offer” to a retailer before checkout – which in turn helps them clear out inventory and boost profits.

“Price negotiations have this negative reputation for being stressful, [but] the most successful strategy is being authentic and keeping it simple,” Ergo’s founder Claire Stepanek said3. Thus, the software is a simple plugin that Shopify merchants can download for their online store. It adds a “Make an offer with ergo” button to their product pages which consumers can click on. They input some information, including how much they are willing to pay and how long they are willing to wait for the product, and from there, the retailer can either accept or reject the offer.

The feature is still in development, but ergo is working hard to bring it to market in time for the busy holiday period. “Retail is huge with Black Friday and holiday shopping, so we are making sure that we are out there,” Stepanek said. “Our customers have said they would love to use ergo through that whole period, so we are focused on that.”

woman looking at credit card

Gen Z shoppers looking for the AI touch

If Gen Z is your target market, it may be time to integrate Artificial Intelligent into your customer experiences.

In a recent consumer survey by e-commerce software company Rokt4, 88% of Gen Z respondents said they believe AI will improve online shopping. 55% said they’re interested in an AI assistant to help them find products, whilst over half said they’d like to try shopping in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.

“Brands and retailers across categories are scrambling to identify how they can best use AI to elevate their e-commerce customer experience and drive revenue,” a statement from Rokt said5. “This research provides decision makers with a roadmap for creating new strategies and implementing advanced tech, such as AI, to significantly help improve the online shopping experience in ways that will surprise and delight shoppers.”

Intrigued? Discover the ways AI could transform your business with our deep dive.

woman wrapping package

Consumers will think green this holiday season

It may be the season of consumption, but shoppers want to make sustainable choices this Christmas. A recent 2023 holiday survey6 asked consumers “Which sustainability practices are most important to you when considering a brand?” The most popular answer was “sustainable packaging and shipping practices” (57% of respondents), followed by “use of eco-friendly materials and production methods” (46%), and “reduction of carbon emissions and environmental footprint” (40%).

Wondering where your business should start to meet these expectations? Begin by diving into our sustainable packaging guide and discover an unexpected use of seaweed!   

hand receiving Euros

European e-commerce continues to grow

Looking to expand your business internationally? Look no further than Europe’s promising opportunities… According to new research by GlobalData7, the European e-commerce market is expected to reach 1.5 trillion dollars by 2027 – an annual growth rate of 9%.

The report explains a significant proportion of this growth can be attributed to “e-commerce-as-a-service companies, like Shopify, and marketplaces, like Amazon and Alibaba, that allow anyone to become a merchant,” adding that “improved technology, new delivery services, and wider internet adoption” are playing their part too.

As for emerging markets, GlobalData highlights India as one to watch, with its e-commerce economy expected to enjoy an average annual growth rate of 23% until 2027.

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