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Prepare for 2023 with these five small business growth strategies

Business planning has proved a difficult task in the last few years. History shows that crises – such as the COVID-19 pandemic and rising interest rates – reshape spending patterns and consumer behaviours.

Regardless of the business, you run, your customers have become accustomed to certain conveniences and increasingly expect the businesses they support to adapt to meet their needs. 

Before you enter the busiest few weeks of the year, it is the time to take stock of your business processes and decide how you’re going to give it the best chance for growth.

Reconsider your customer experience

The world’s fastest-growing brands have something in common: they are continuously iterating and improving upon their customer experience — implementing website chatbots, personalised loyalty programs, floating checkout with mobile EFTPOS solutions, and more. As a result, consumers are increasingly beginning to expect the same from their local businesses. 

Putting the consumer at the heart of your service has a myriad of benefits, from helping to increase sales to boosting employee satisfaction. This is the reason why, despite a challenging economy, Salesforce research found that a third (34%) of small businesses are focussing on their existing customer pool and prioritising the business-customer relationship over one-time transactions.

Your ability to offer an encompassing consumer experience hinges on having an understanding of your customer. An intelligent system that enables you to create customer profiles you can use to customise your customers’ buying journeys will be invaluable in 2023 as consumers increasingly seek out personalised experiences. After all, it’s easier to upsell or re-engage an existing customer than it is to find and convert a new one. An existing customer is already convinced of the quality of your services or products, and you already know and understand their purchasing behaviours.

Make your marketing inclusive

Have you ever been turned off by a brand because of its imagery? You’re not alone. MDG Advertising revealed that 67% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that uses quality imagery. However, selecting the right visuals comes down to more than just counting pixels. 

Many businesses underestimate their audience, assuming free stock photography will do the job — yet consumers have become increasingly perceptive. Inauthentic, staged photography is easy to spot. 

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to poor image choices; photoshoots and image licences can be expensive. However, investing in your own quality photography will elevate your brand’s quality in the consumer’s eyes — especially if you can authentically acknowledge the diversity of modern society. According to a recent Deloitte report, young consumers (aged 18 to 25) in particular, take more notice of inclusive advertising when choosing what to spend their money on. As a result, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to show inclusivity through their imagery. 

Consider 2023 as your opportunity to authentically connect with your customers and reflect the multiplicity of modern society in your advertising. If budget is a concern, paid stock imagery sites such as iStock and Adobe Stock offers diverse, quality images for an affordable price. Alternatively, reach out to your local photography school — students are always looking for ways to grow their portfolios.  

Leverage new technology

While some merchants may have delayed the adoption of modern tech in pre-COVID times, the pandemic has made it apparent that going digital is no longer optional — it’s a requirement for business survival. 

Simplifying once-clunky processes through technology allows you to focus on delivering the best experience for your customer. Rather than fumbling to replace paper for EFTPOS receipts or disrupting the conversation to ask for a tip, modern payment solutions automate and simplify these processes.

Zeller Terminal allows you to prompt tipping seamlessly in your payments flow, provide digital receipts rather than paper copies, and can integrate with your point-of-sale to speed up checkout – all these features improve the experience for your customer and enable you to serve more customers better. 

Embrace the power of video 

Research has found that 84 per cent of consumers have been convinced to buy a product after watching a video clip. That’s the power of video, and it’s going to be equally (if not more) powerful in 2023.

You might think that video is a costly investment only big businesses have the luxury of investing in — and you’d be partially correct because big businesses are relying on video to help grow their market share. Yet video content doesn’t have to be of silver-screen quality. 

Amateur video content, such as piece-to-camera social media stories and behind-the-scenes clips, appear more authentic in the eye of consumers. This is good news for merchants looking for highly effective, low-budget advertising content to grow their business in 2023.

Be ready to accept modern payment methods

Cash was once king, yet countless payment alternatives have since entered the market to vie for the crown. From credit cards to digital devices, there are far more convenient ways to transact — many of which don’t require customers to open their wallets. Not being ready to accept modern payment methods could cost your business more than you realise.

Research conducted by Capgemini for its World Payment Report 2021 found nearly 45% of survey respondents frequently used mobile wallets to make purchases in 2021, compared to 23% in 2020. As more and more consumers leave their wallets at home — confident in their ability to buy anything from a coffee to a couch with a tap of their mobile phone or smartwatch — businesses that can’t accept digital payments, such as Apple Pay, are likely losing customers to competing businesses that can offer this convenience. 

As you plan your growth strategies for 2023, take time to research which payment methods have become popular over the last 12 months. Are you able to affordably incorporate them into your accepted payment methods? A next-gen EFTPOS terminal, such as Zeller Terminal, will enable you to accept the more modern payment methods favoured by your youngest customers and all of the standard EFTPOS and credit cards. 

2023 will be a year of change, promise and growth — yet it won’t be without its challenges. The commercial landscape has been significantly altered, and businesses will need to adapt. Now is the time to consider how you’ll prioritise your customers and their sentiments moving forward. Businesses that successfully leverage these changes to provide a better customer experience will be best equipped for success in 2023. 

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Joshua McNicol

Joshua McNicol

Joshua McNicol is the Director of Growth at Zeller. He utilises his extensive experience from working with some of the world’s fastest-growing disruptive technology brands across fintech and SaaS to drive Zeller’s goal to reimagine business banking for Australian merchants. Prior to Zeller, Josh was the General Manager, APAC at Eventbrite, and previously led Global Brand, Content and Partnership Marketing for Square following launching the payments technology’s brand in Australia as Square’s first Australian Head of Marketing and Communications.

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