The end of the year is a time of reflection, especially for business owners who want to reach new heights. Whether you’re thinking about updating your business website or restructuring your business development plan, it’s useful to pay attention to the shifting tides. Speaking with our Wix experts, we’ve compiled a list of emerging small business trends to watch in 2023 so that you can stay ahead of the curve.
Small business trends
Here are seven small business trends to keep an eye out for in 2023:
In the last few years, accessibility has become a prevailing theme of inclusivity, justice and community online. Business owners can improve their own website accessibility and meet the highest standards of WCAG 2.0 (the newest interaction of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). Wix Accessibility Lead Nir Horesh says that we should “design websites with accessibility” at the start of a business.
Horesh stresses that business owners who have not yet committed to website accessibility should consider that accessibility lawsuits are increasing in the U.S. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 11,400 people filed Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits in 2021, which was a 4% increase from 2020 and a 320% increase from 2013.
Horesh says that having awareness is the first step to making your business more accessible. With Wix, users can create a website with accessibility settings built right into the Editor, ensuring your content and design comply with the global standards. Wix’s Accessibility Wizard then scans the website for accessibility issues and suggests fixes.
The second step, Horesh says, is to include people with disabilities into the design process. “The more people with disabilities you involve in the development of your website and business, the better it will work for them.” Horesh recalls an important takeaway after speaking with Apple’s Accessibility head. The Apple team of developers, he recalls, include people with disabilities.
Organizations such as The New York Times have enhanced the user experience of their websites and apps, such as providing alt-text by placing photo captions in the HTML, converting text to downloadable Braille files and creating audio versions of articles.
02. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence, or AI, remains a buzzword for most small business owners. AI automates mundane tasks to reduce time, improves customer service and helps with data analytics. But how can small business owners implement and leverage AI and machine learning to overcome these small business challenges?
“We all use AI in our day-to-day life without even realizing it,” said Wix data engineer Eitan Shalev. Search engines, smartphone cameras and social media all rely on powerful AI technology. AI is becoming a hot commodity for niche businesses, too. For example in the hospitality industry, travel technology trends revolved around voice assistants and chatbots.
Shalev says all small business owners should consider using automated chatbots in 2023, either to improve customer support or make their websites more interactive. “AI could also be used on an eCommerce site to offer suggestions for products that the customer might be interested in, based on their past shopping behavior or their segmentation, if that data is available,” he adds.
Tip: AI technology can also help you craft creative copy and text for your business. For example, a small business name generator is a tool that can help kickstart finding a catchy name for a new venture.
03. Mobile marketing
Mobile usage is increasing with no signs of slowing down. According to Pew Research, 85% of US citizens owned smartphones in 2021. And, according to projections from the World Advertising Research Center, 72.6% of internet users will become mobile-only users in 2025. For that reason, it’s essential that small businesses invest in mobile marketing.
One important step you can take is to make your website as easy to use on mobile as it is on desktop. It needs a responsive design, easy navigation, call-to-actions that stand out and a “Back to Top” button. As an added bonus, all these changes can improve your ranking on search engines like Google that rely on mobile-first indexing. You could also try SMS marketing and setting your Google Ads to geo-target potential clients in your area.
Tip: Wix users can manage their mobile marketing strategy from the Wix Owner App. They can also use the Wix mobile app to create a mobile app experience in which customers can connect with your business, book services and purchase products.
04. Personalizing customer service
Personalized customer service is about adapting services to the specific wants and needs of each of your clients. It's a small business myth to expect customers to just show up. Today, people expect businesses to know precisely what they want and manage their preferences to maintain a smooth customer journey. Plus, fully engaged customers are 23% more likely than average customers to spend with your business, which may also help increase your long-term profit.
To personalize customer services, explore web analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Wix Analytics. These tools can help you gather insights about your visitors, including how they got there (i.e. search engine or social media), which products are top sellers and what’s driving users’ purchase decisions.
You can use all the data you gather to tailor their personal experience. Consider setting up an automation to send new subscribers welcome emails. You can also offer freemium memberships or custom coupons based on their buying history or interests.
05. Growing an online community
Creating an online community of like-minded individuals can foster valuable connections to your brand. By sharing quality content about your field of expertise, you'll establish yourself as an authority in your industry and gain the trust of your audience. Consider making webinars, offering online courses, hosting live streams or creating a blog.
Another great way to build a community to build a forum on your site where your customers can chat with one another. Take it up a notch with a Members Area, a space dedicated to your most loyal customers. Here, site visitors can log into their personal account to manage their order status or appointments, chat with other members and access other types of gated, exclusive content.
06. Data transparency
Consumers want more transparency on how businesses handle their data, a new Cisco survey shows. “Organizations need to explain their data practices in simple terms and make them readily available so that customers and users can understand what is going on with their data,” said Harvey Jang, Cisco’s vice president, deputy general counsel and chief privacy officer.
Companies of all stripes are recognizing that business-as-usual is no longer an option with policymakers around the world implementing new rules to ensure climate targets. In 2022, a task force of leaders in fashion made the momentous declaration that mass-production cannot be the primary driver of their industry. For example, Bottega Veneta announced a certificate of craft and lifetime warranty program for handbags to be refreshed and repaired. This is in keeping with the business trend of sustainability, which will continue to make waves in 2023.