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5 key business trends for 2022

Growth and Operations

5 key business trends for 2022

Updated: April 25th, 2022

5 key business trends for 2022

After spending more than two years adapting to an ever-changing landscape, small businesses are moving forward in 2022 with renewed confidence. As a business owner, chances are you made changes to your operation throughout 2021 in order to overcome ongoing pandemic-related challenges. Now, in 2022, those changes are no longer temporary adaptations—they’re the new norm. 

Whether you’re already embracing these shifts or are looking for additional ways to evolve, here are five of the most prominent business trends this year:

1. Prioritizing online sales 

Online sales aren’t just a nice-to-have revenue stream; they’re now essential to your business’s survival. For both brick-and-mortar stores as well as e-commerce businesses, increasing online sales is the number one priority, according to the Quickbooks 2021 Small Business Insights report. In the report, 88% of small business owners surveyed said online sales are an important source of revenue, and 97% said digital technology is important to their business. 

That’s because consumers want convenience, ease, and options. Focusing on online sales is one of the most effective ways to appease your customers and keep revenue consistent. Here are three strategies:

Continue improving your ecommerce store

Nearly half (49%) of businesses surveyed in Shopify’s 2021 Future of Commerce Report said they’re planning to invest more into their business’s online store. While some customers shop exclusively online or in person, others do a combination of both. In Shopify’s report, 54% of consumers surveyed said they’re likely to look at an offering online before choosing to purchase in store, while 53% said they’re likely to visit the store first and then continue to buy online. 

A well-thought out website is integral to your overall business strategy, regardless of whether you sell a product or offer a service. From seamless navigation to user-friendly design, your site is an opportunity to control the brand narrative—providing visitors with the information they need to transition from browsing to buying.  

Expand your presence on online marketplaces

Leveraging online marketplaces to sell your products can help attract new customers and increase sales. A survey conducted by Shopify discovered that 56% of businesses plan to invest more in online marketplaces, while 55% of customers said they regularly shop through online marketplaces.

Authentic voice and consistent brand messaging will help your business stand out. From detailed product descriptions to reliable customer service, creating a well-rounded brand experience will play a huge role in driving customer loyalty, as well as increasing your bottom line. 

Embrace social selling

Advertising your products or services through social media is a huge opportunity to drive sales.  From paid ads to influencer partnerships, this is a highly effective—not to mention profitable—way to feature promotions, amplify presence, and drive overall brand awareness. 

2. Creating a people-first workplace

A people-first workplace culture is one that places its employees first and foremost. Now more  than ever before, businesses are doing their best to prioritize employee well-being and happiness

With employee demands shifting since the start of the pandemic, businesses are struggling to hold onto talented workers amidst the Great Resignation and labor shortage. According to a Quickbooks survey, nearly half (44%) of small businesses are planning to hire within three months. Not only do employees want higher, more equitable pay from their jobs, they also want more flexibility, more emotional support, and a greater work-life balance.

The other motivator, however, is growth potential. More and more businesses are recognizing that higher employee engagement and happiness leads to higher customer satisfaction and increased revenue. According to Salesforce’s 2021 Small and Medium Business Trends Report, businesses that reduced their employee perks over the past year found themselves stagnant,  while those that invested in or expanded employee benefits experienced more growth. 

Whether you’re in the process of hiring new employees or looking to elevate the experience of your current workforce, it’s crucial that you work on creating a people-first workplace culture. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Consider increasing your minimum wage. 
  • Work on being transparent with your employees about COVID regulations and business changes. 
  • Increase employee compensation to account for rising inflation and higher cost of living. 
  • Offer more flexible work arrangements, like occasional work-from-home days, flexible hours, or choice of shifts. 
  • Reduce traditional work hours so people have more time to focus on their families and health. 
  • Give employees more opportunities to do the work they like, or learn new skills on the job. 
  • Provide mental health resources, like paid therapy sessions, wellness stipends, or paid mental health days. 
  • Give employees more autonomy over their daily job duties and paid time off usage. 
  • Offer employees paid leave for parental leave, family care, or disability. 

3. Optimizing the supply chain

Businesses have been reorganizing their supply chains for over two years now; but in 2022, supply chain optimization is the goal. With higher shipping costs, manufacturing delays, and shipping delays still causing problems, businesses are homing in on solutions. 

According to The Future of Shipping and Logistics 2022 report by Shopify, 45% of businesses are increasing their manufacturing capacity, 44% are increasing the speed of their supply chain, and 44% are trying to collaborate more with their supply chain partners.

Optimizing the supply chain is only one half of the equation, though; businesses are also refining their inventory management techniques to avoid shortages and maximize profit potential. That means experimenting with different stock levels, stockpiling certain items, and adopting new software. 

4. Becoming more sustainable 

Consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious in their shopping considerations—and small businesses want to accommodate them. Over half (51%) of customers surveyed in PwC’s December 2021 Global Consumer Insights Survey said they regularly consider whether or not a business’s product has a transparent and traceable origin before making a purchase.

In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, becoming more sustainable can help foster customer trust and loyalty. It starts with adopting more environmentally conscious business and production processes. Shopify’s commerce report found that over the next year, 46% of businesses plan to invest in helping customers recycle products more easily, 39% plan to make their manufacturing more efficient, and 39% plan to invest in natural, renewable, or recycled materials. 

Other impactful changes you can make include: 

  • Partnering with vendors and suppliers who have eco-friendly practices
  • Redesigning your packaging to be more recyclable 
  • Swapping out wasteful business supplies for biodegradable alternatives
  • Contributing to local environmental organizations 
  • Donating a percentage of profits to a local nonprofit or state park
  • Beginning the process of becoming a certified B corporation  

5. Investing in new technology 

Businesses in 2022 are investing more cash and resources into technology that helps streamline operational processes, accommodate customer needs, and facilitate sales. According to Salesforce’s report, 62% of business owners are investing in new tech to increase productivity, 60% want to improve business agility, and 54% want to increase data security. The top five areas business owners are investing in are: 

  1. Customer service software
  2. Email marketing software
  3. Ecommerce software 
  4. Project management or collaboration software
  5. Marketing automation software 

If you haven’t already overhauled your digital tools or internal processes, it may be time to consider a change. You could install chatbots on your business website for additional customer service support, for example, or update your inventory management software to stay on top of sales. Reviewing customer and employee feedback can give you an idea of which systems or processes aren’t as efficient or helpful as they could be.  

There’s a reason why business trends become, well…so trendy. It’s because they work. This year’s business trends are more than just interesting considerations—they’re proving to be the most effective approaches to success. 

If you’re eager to improve your business and need help, consider applying for a Funding Circle term loan. Our long-term business loans give you an affordable, flexible way to invest in your business’s evolution. Whether you want to upgrade your CRM software, switch up your supply chain, or introduce new employee benefits, we can help. Learn more about our term loans or apply today


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