COVID-19 forced small business owners to speed up the next digital transformation of their own company. Despite the waning of the pandemic here in the U.S., these digital changes are becoming permanent and are still increasing at a rapid rate.
On The Small Business Radio Show this week, Stacey Marx, President of National Business and Channels at AT&T discusses the top digital trends that small business owners need to take advantage of and mistakes that can be avoided.
The pandemic produced new behavioral patterns for customers. Stacey cites according to McKinsey, “U.S. ecommerce grew 10 years’ worth in the last 3 months! and what we expect in our experience is evolving.” According to Gartner, Stacey adds “especially for millennials, 44% of customers want self-service that is convenient plus a digital way to shop and pay. In fact, they prefer assistance only when they need it via mobile or the web.”
Interview with Stacey Marx of AT&T
Stacey says customers want to be met where, when and how they want. She explains that the “small business needs to seek ways to use all of the communication platforms.” According to Stacey, this is especially critical now since during the pandemic, “many loyalties were broken and (customers) were forced to experiment with things they did not know.” She says that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a superior experience and 77% of consumers consider a customer experience to be as important as their product or service.
One of the trends that grew during the pandemic, was the “phygital” and BOPUS (Buy Online and Pick Up in Store) market landscape. Stacey says “phygital” is the hybrid bridge between the digital and physical world for selling products and services.
Stacey explains that as more commerce was done online by customers and employees, cyber-attacks in small businesses also increased by 300% (according to the FBI). This happens because small businesses possess desired data and lack security infrastructure. Changes Stacey suggests include changing passwords frequently, updating security software, training your staff and turning VPNs on when you are using WIFI in public places.
Listen to the entire interview on The Small Business Radio Show and check out ATT’s free resources for small businesses.
Image: Stacey Marx
I work with some businesses that experienced these shifts to ecommerce and the scale was massive. There is lots of adjusting to be done right now and lots of opportunity.
It is great to see that companies are adapting to the environment and taking the advantages offered by the different technologies to digitally transform by starting initiatives or scaling existing initiatives to emerge stronger from the crisis.