The consumer trust shift: Does the future belong to small businesses?

Flower shop business owner

It’s an interesting time for small and medium-size businesses. Despite the world being defined by global connections and massive corporations, we’re currently seeing a huge shift in consumer trust away from large, household brands and towards local business.

In the US alone,  an Avions report into shopping habits found that as many as 62% of consumers trusted small, local businesses over large national companies. With such a strong show of support, it’s clear there’s an opportunity to serve these small companies and help them win over even more loyal customers.

Putting trust in local business

Pinning down the reason behind that split in trust is tricky. Trust is a personal matter, and each consumer will likely have their own specific answer. For some, it’s a simple matter of the face-to-face contact that comes with shopping with a local business. It’s far easier to put your trust in a face or a name than a logo, particularly if that face is the owner of the business.

Small businesses often grow out of a personal or collective passion for a craft or trade, and they’re nimble enough to do expert, bespoke work. Dealing with them is often more personal, which makes a meaningful difference to their customer experience. In recent years, people have almost reignited their love of this type of experience, having been forced to turn to their local communities off the back of Covid-19.

Given the strength of the support for small and medium-size businesses, this is a trend that’s unlikely to disappear any time soon. And for the companies that support them with their products and services, it’s all the more reason to get behind their success.

The rise of the small businesses shows no signs of slowing

The opportunity presented by the small and medium business economy is no laughing matter. What these companies lack in size, they more than make up for in presence – around the world, SMBs account for more than 95% of all businesses.

With such an integral place in the global economy, supporting small and medium-sized businesses should always be a priority. But during the current cost of living crisis, those businesses are going to need more help than ever to navigate the challenges ahead.

That won’t just mean supporting the small businesses that are already up and running. Don’t be surprised to see huge numbers of people still launching businesses even in the middle of the crisis. Take the Covid-19 pandemic for example – despite the huge financial challenges facing them, more than 800,000 US entrepreneurs still launched new businesses in 2020.

Over the next year, people are going to be facing redundancies or will need to find additional ways to make ends meet. For many of them the solution might be to launch a business themselves – either as their full-time income or as a gig economy side hustle.

Whatever form these new businesses take, they will be in for a baptism of fire at first. They will need support not just to stay afloat, but to grow and compete.

The future is theirs – let’s help them take it

There’s no two ways about it – the entrepreneurs who start their own businesses are brilliant. Whether they’re rewiring houses, teaching people to drive or cutting hair, they often do it on an incredible bank of expertise built from years of training and practice, and with a constant appetite to learn even more.

With the shift in consumer trust towards them, it’s clear the outlook for small businesses is strong. And as more and more customers flock to them, we want small business owners to be ready to seize this opportunity.

For the companies looking to support them, there’s an opportunity to ask what more can be done to help these entrepreneurs thrive. How can they best reach this new wave of loyal customers? What tools can help them more effortlessly manage their day to day admin? What education do they need to run their business at its fullest potential?

Our survey of 529 small businesses helped us begin to answer these questions. It’s not about setting off the rise of the small businesses – that’s already here. Now it’s a question of how much more those small business owners can achieve with the right support.

We’re on a mission for tech democracy for small businesses – are you in? Request a demo of our software, or get in touch to see how we could collaborate.

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