Small Business News: 08 September 2023

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s SBN roundup looks at the reasons some consumers are still wary of shopping on social media, and which group sold a whopping 4.1 billion products on Amazon last year.

Look but don’t buy: lack of trust hindering social media shopping

As people increasingly use social media to discover new brands, a recent survey has revealed why many are still reluctant to click “buy” on the products they find.

PYMNTS1 polled 1700 consumers who had looked for goods or services on social media over the previous 30 days and asked them why they didn’t purchase anything. 24% of respondents cited “not enough trust to share personal data” as the most important reason, followed by “prefer not to mix social media with shopping” (18.8%), and “scepticism over sellers’ authenticity” (15.5%).  

So, how can your brand overcome this obstacle to make social media a valuable part of its growth strategy? By reading our dedicated social selling guide, of course! Dive in for tips, insights, and best practices.

Consumers still unsure of AI in commerce

Artificial intelligence is the hot topic of the moment, but recent research suggests consumers still need convincing of its worth in the commerce sector.

According to a survey2 of 2,000 shoppers in the UK, less than half said they think AI is having a positive experience on their retail experiences. That’s despite 70% saying they prefer brands which offer personalized recommendations – something which AI enables.

“At present, shoppers are not entirely convinced on AI’s value – but when used responsibly, AI can truly enhance user experience in everything from receiving the right recommendations to easy purchasing processes”, said Kelsey Jones3, global head of product marketing at SAP Emarsys, which carried out the research.

She added that businesses that do collect customer data to create personalized experiences should do so transparently; “brands need to explain how data is being used, and the direct value it offers to consumers in terms of driving the personalization that they so desire at every touchpoint.”

Fashion brand pioneers new business model

Spanish fashion house Desigual is introducing its first on-demand collection – where garments will only be made after they have been ordered by customers.  

Though it does not yet exist, images of the collection – which includes handbags, a kimono and a skirt – were recently unveiled on the brand’s website thanks to the power of Artificial Intelligence.

"This on-demand collection is the combination of our almost 40 years of experience in the industry and the cross-disciplinary innovation we promote in the company," said founder Thomas Meyer4. "The production of garments and accessories that are made on demand by customers will allow us to experiment with reducing product stock, look for new ways to reach consumers, and create garments almost simultaneously," he added.

Though Desigual operates in 109 countries, the initiative will only be available to the Spanish domestic market, Germany, France, and Italy. Customers ordering one of the pieces can expect to receive their items 90 days after order, and can follow the manufacturing process step by step.

So, is on-demand manufacturing the future of e-commerce? Watch this space…

SMBs continue to dominate Amazon

A recent earnings report from Amazon revealed 60% of its marketplace sales last year came from independent sellers – most of them small and medium-sized businesses.

Independent merchants based in the US sold a whopping 4.1 billion products in 2022 – an average of 7,800 every minute – and exported over 260 million products, creating 1.5 million jobs in the process.

Small businesses are the heart of our local communities and the backbone of the US economy,” a spokesperson from the company said5. “Amazon invests billions of dollars annually to provide entrepreneurs with a constantly improving set of valuable tools and resources to help them gain access to capital, quickly launch in our store, build their brands, and rapidly scale and reach more customers.” These tools include a “Small Business” badge which sellers can add to their store to help them be found more easily by customers wishing to support small brands.

TikTok x Small Businesses – a marketing success story

Is TikTok on your marketing radar? A case study from small business GotFunny might just convince you of its power. The T-shirt brand attributes 95% of its sales to shoppers discovering it on social media – most notably, video platform TikTok.

Owner Bryson Oppermann said when its brand’s TikTok posts receive 500,000 views or more, sales of the featured products can increase from 200% to 2000%.

Yet, the path to TikTok marketing success hasn’t always been smooth. Early videos he posted didn’t receive many views, which he believes is down to trying too hard. “I was purposely trying to create content that would go viral, and create content for the algorithm rather than for actual people.”6

Instead, Bryson recommends creating content more authentic to your brand’s ethos. “I don’t need to copy what other people are doing, I know how to go viral (in a way) that’s true to myself, my business and my brand,” he said.

Earlier this year, in a survey of online shoppers aged 18-30, almost half said social media influences their online purchasing7. Time to get your creative hat on and head to TikTok!

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