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Forbes recently spoke to several industry leaders about the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses in the year ahead. And the outlook is positive, despite global inflation, believes Sharon Miller, President of Small Business at Bank of America.
“Through research and conversations with our clients, it's clear that most business owners are resolute and optimistic heading into 2023,” she said1. “While business owners anticipate a recession may force them to raise prices and reduce spending, entrepreneurs are focusing their efforts on marketing and promoting their businesses, investing in new technology, and boosting head count.”
Dave Charest, Director of Small Business Success at Constant Contact, offered some advice for SMEs in the event of a recession. “[They should] lean into their strengths – their connection to their communities and the great experiences they can provide customers. Bigger brands may have bigger budgets and more exposure, but they can’t offer the same inventory, customer service, or experience that a small business can.”2
With many of the world’s economies gripped by rocketing inflation, consumers are cutting back – not only on luxuries, but essentials too.
A study by PYMNTS last December found that 72% of US adults are very or extremely worried about the country’s economic situation3. In response, it appears they are turning to smaller luxuries for comfort.
American confectionary giant Hershey’s reported sales of its chocolates rose 11%, sweets by 13%, and salty snacks by a massive 71%, year-on-year, in the fourth quarter of last year4.
“Consumers view these categories, and especially chocolate, as part of emotional wellness – what it does and how it makes them feel,” said Hershey’s CEO, Michele Buck5.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, this comfort-eating phenonenon will be well received by smaller confectionery retailers.
American Express has launched a fintech tool to help small businesses manage their finances from a single place.
The American Express Business Blueprint6 app allows customers to manage their cash flow, make payments, get paid, and access working capital on one platform rather than having to log in to several different services. Furthermore, they will receive free personalized data based on their select business products and accounts.
“It comes with insights, the ability to view all of your America Express card relationships in one place and add other relationships whether a card or checking account,” said Gina Taylor, executive vice president and general manager of American Express Business Blueprint & Banking7. “In one place you will be able to view all of your money in and money out and money at risk.”
“We use our risk management to enable small businesses to spend more on the card and they have a lot of the benefits of earning rewards and value back,” she added.
Looking to tap into the German e-commerce market? Then it may be time to integrate YouTube into your marketing strategy.
Data from Statista Global Consumer Outlook8 shows that German consumers’ use of social media for product research has increased by 7% over 2019, and video websites by 4%. This is in preference to Google Shopping and price comparison websites, which are 10% down in popularity.
Previous data showed that over 55% of Germans relied heavily on customer reviews before buying online9. However, with the authenticity of written reviews on brands’ websites sometimes called into question, many are placing more trust in video reviews by “real” people. The power of old-fashioned personal recommendations and word of mouth seems to be alive and well, online.
With 2023 in full swing, don’t forget to check out our 2023 commerce calendar. It’s packed full of events your business should be aware of to boost its sales – from Black Friday and Singles’ Day to the best expos and conferences you can attend to sharpen up your entrepreneurial skills. After all, there’s always something to learn!
1 - Sharon Miller, Forbes, January 2023
2 - Dave Charest, Forbes, January 2023
3, 4 - PYMNTS, February 2023
5 - Michele Buck, PYMNTS, February 2023
6 - American Express Business Blueprint
7 - Gina Taylor, Forbes, January 2023
8, 9 - Ecommerce News, January 2023