small business trends

Small Business Trends for Growth & Success in 2024

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As we journey into 2024, the ever-changing business landscape calls for small businesses to keep pace with emerging small business trends to foster growth and success. In this piece, we’ll dive into five pivotal trends set to shape the small business realm in the coming year and beyond.

From the heightened emphasis on sustainability to the enduring charm of supporting local businesses, we’ll take a look at small business statistics and offer actionable insights tailored to empower entrepreneurs. Let’s explore how these trends can fuel growth and enhance your business strategy in today’s rapidly evolving small business landscape.

1. Go Green: Championing Sustainability in Business

In 2024, sustainability remains firmly in the spotlight, capturing the attention of both consumers and businesses. With an increasing focus on sustainability priorities and heightened environmental consciousness, customers are gravitating towards businesses prioritising eco-friendly practices.

A 2023 study conducted by Monash Business School shed light on the attitudes and behaviours of Australian shoppers, revealing that over half (51%) consider sustainability a crucial factor when making retail purchases. 

Furthermore, consumers expressed a preference for locally (64%) and ethically (62%) produced goods, as well as items packaged in recyclable materials (59%). The study also highlighted that nearly all Australian shoppers (96%) engaged in at least one sustainable practice in the past three months, such as using reusable shopping bags and recycling products.

Echoing these sentiments, a PwC study found that almost half (44%) of surveyed Australians have become more sustainability-focused since the onset of the pandemic.

In light of these findings, small businesses can seize the opportunity to embrace sustainable practices across their operations. By sourcing locally and environmentally friendly products, minimising waste and implementing eco-friendly measures, businesses can resonate with consumer values, attracting new customers and fostering long-term loyalty and trust.

2. Embracing Digital-First Strategies and the AI Evolution

Get ready to navigate the digital realm and explore the growing possibilities of AI in 2024! As digital technology advances, having a strong online presence is more important than ever for small businesses. Investing in digital marketing strategies can help reach and engage with your target audience effectively. This includes leveraging social media platforms, optimising websites for mobile devices and implementing targeted advertising campaigns.

In the realm of social media marketing, video content reigns supreme as an impactful tool for engagement, with a staggering two-thirds (72%) of Australians expressing a preference for video over text. Video marketing not only boosts audience engagement but also enhances search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts and elevates overall website performance.

Moreover, with the Australian smartphone user base projected to surpass 26 million by 2026, mobile optimisation emerges as a critical strategy for online success. Ensuring online storefronts are mobile-friendly is paramount, given Google’s love for mobile-responsive websites in search rankings. Tactics such as SMS marketing and location-based targeting on Google offer effective avenues for connecting with potential customers.

The adoption of AI for tasks such as customer service through chatbots is gaining popularity among Australian businesses, with 75% already using some form of AI and machine learning to deliver personalised customer interactions. We dig a little deeper into the importance of this in our next small business trend. 

3. Crafting Personalised Customer Experiences with Data Insights

It’s becoming a world of personalised experiences where data is emerging as a powerful tool in delivering personalised products, services and marketing messages that resonate with your target audience. 

Today’s Australian consumers expect tailored experiences that cater to their individual preferences and needs, and small businesses can take advantage of these expectations. A 2022 Adobe “Make it Personal” report found that more than half (63%) of Australian consumers expect personalised experiences and want real-time offers (51%) tailored to their preferences in exchange for their data with brands. Moreover, 63% of Australian consumers are willing to pay more to purchase from a favoured brand.

Post-purchase experience matters too! A large majority of Australians expressed a desire for attentive (84%), understanding (82%) and consistent (81%) customer service. By embracing data-driven strategies and prioritising customer satisfaction, businesses can cultivate strong customer relationships, driving loyalty and repeat business in the year ahead. We get the importance of quality customer support here at Smartpay – it’s why we have a dedicated team of local experts available 24/7, 365 days a year to answer any questions that our customers have, at any time.

4. The Power of Shopping Local

Did you know that a whopping 98% of Aussie businesses qualify as small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs)? These local heroes are the backbone of the Australian economy.  

Fueled by initiatives like “Go Local First” and “Main Streets of Australia” that continue to champion small businesses nationwide, more Aussies are embracing the sentiment of shopping locally like never before. In fact, two in three Australians (66%) say they value shopping locally now more than they did three years ago. 

Thanks to the growth in flexible work arrangements, Aussies are rediscovering the magic of local communities, fueling the ‘shop local’ movement like never before. For small businesses, this presents a golden opportunity to shine! To thrive in this environment, small businesses can leverage this trend by increasing their visibility in local communities and adapting their practices to support remote workers.

5. Being Prepared for Volatility

In recent years, Aussie businesses have weathered storms caused by everything from the pandemic to natural disasters and global upheaval. While these have presented challenges, these can also be used as an opportunity to become more resilient for continued growth and success. 

A key lesson here is to build a rock-solid supply chain strategy. This includes taking a good look at your current suppliers, sourcing alternate suppliers where appropriate, strengthening your relationships with suppliers that have been steady in the past as well as having backups in case of emergencies. It’s also a good idea to take a look at better sourcing costs; a more competitive supplier can not only boost your bottom line but also give you peace of mind in times of uncertainty. You can also look at if you can renegotiate a better rate with your existing suppliers. Good suppliers know that they can offer you the best deal on the market – at Smartpay, we don’t lock our customers into contracts, as we feel confident in our product offering: Smartpay Zero Cost™ EFTPOS helps thousands of businesses take their EFTPOS bills down to $0. That’s a tough offer to beat! 

Embracing a forward-thinking approach to supply chain management is essential for sustaining operations and fostering long-term growth. 

As we wrap up our exploration of the small business trends shaping 2024, one thing’s for sure: adaptability is the name of the game. From the power of shopping local to the necessity of supply chain resilience, these trends underscore the importance of staying nimble in today’s ever-changing business landscape.

So, what’s the key takeaway? It’s all about embracing innovation and seizing opportunities. By staying ahead of the curve and being open to new ideas, small businesses can not only survive but thrive in the face of uncertainty. Here’s to a future filled with growth, success and endless possibilities!

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