Small Business News: 16 June 2023

Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s SBN roundup includes AI’s growing role in business decisions, and why a little positivity might just help you boost sales.

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Small businesses lean on AI for decision making

41% of US small businesses are currently prioritizing artificial intelligence to help them make business decisions, according to a new study by American Express1.

Those surveyed highlighted where they saw the most potential for the technology: “saving time” (39% of respondents), “improving data security” (21%), and “efficient customer service” (20%) were the top responses.

“Using AI in business for key tasks such as decision making, data security, customer service, and hiring is increasingly becoming more common for companies of all sizes,” the report noted2. “With artificial intelligence technology continuing to improve and small-business owners finding AI assistance increasingly helpful, more and more businesses will likely adopt AI in the future.”

From demand forecasting to final-mile delivery, discover how AI can help your business improve its logistics operations, here.

people sitting together laughing

Positivity the key to driving sales

How positive is your marketing strategy? It’s time to put your happy hat on because research from Pinterest has identified a strong link between positive environments and the impact brands have on consumers.

A survey3 from the image sharing platform found that 56% of consumers said they are more likely to remember brands they encounter online in a positive environment, 56% are more likely to trust the brand, and 54% more likely to make a purchase.

So, where are these “positive spaces” your business should consider? Unsurprisingly, your first stop should be Pinterest – with 2 out of 3 users saying they feel positive after interacting with the platform.

"People come to Pinterest at key stages and moments in their lives, giving brands and advertisers a unique opportunity to connect with them when it matters most," said JJ Hirschle, Head of US Partnerships at Pinterest4. "The research shows that positivity is a key driver for action, so Pinterest sets the bar high for advertisers as a platform that will benefit both their audiences and bottom line."

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Budget-conscious consumers fuel subscription boom

Thinking of introducing a subscription model to your business? Here’s a staggering fact that will sway you: just 1% of consumers in the UK do not consider themselves to be subscribers in any form.

A recent study by market research agency OnePoll5 found that despite the current cost-of-living crisis, many shoppers are in fact increasing their spending on subscriptions as a way to save money. UK respondents cited “cost effectiveness” (41%) as one of the top two subscription benefits, along with “convenience” (49%).

“What seems to unify [global respondents], is that subscriptions offer a way to make vital cost savings, as well as a far more convenient and personalized shopping experience,” a survey spokesperson said6. “Subscriptions are allowing people to buy what they need, and enjoy the things they love, more easily, and for less. This is a huge part of why we are seeing a boom in the subscription economy globally.”

Still need persuading? Discover all the benefits of subscription marketing – and how to implement it into your business, with our dedicated guide.

“Ghosting” customers undermines brands’ growth

Brands snubbing customers online – that is, not replying to their feedback, questions and reviews across social channels like Instagram – is costing them dearly.

Marketing platform SOCi Inc. analyzed over 500 brands across 39 categories and found the bad practice is costing the US retail industry $2.4 billion each year7.

"Retailer 'ghosting' is an alarming phenomenon with serious implications for brand reputation, customer loyalty and online visibility," Monica Ho, CMO of SOCi, said8. "When retailers ignore their customers online, they inadvertently send a message that the customer experience isn't a priority. It's akin to retail employees ignoring shoppers in-store, and this type of behavior has a significant impact on revenue and sales."

Furthermore, ignoring customers’ complaints or questions will have an impact on a brand’s discoverability online, as search engines like Google consider engagement factors when ranking listings.

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And finally…

Looking for a new market to target? China could be your next lucrative opportunity. In 2022, 1 billion consumers there shopped on e-commerce channels9 – and their appetite for foreign brands is growing.  

Selling to Chinese consumers is not as complex as you think – you just need some local insights to help your business break through. Fortunately, our dedicated China trade guide has you covered. Here’s everything you need to know – from navigating customs to the best e-commerce entry strategy.

1 & 2 - American Express, May 2023

3 & 4 – Pinterest Newsroom, June 2023

5 & 6 – Marketing Tech News, May 2023   

7 & 8 – MarTechCube, May 2023                         

9 – Alizila, January 2023