According to a recent survey by the accountancy software firm Intuit Quickbooks, small business owners in the US, Canada, and the UK are surprisingly optimistic about the 2022 holiday season. This news comes despite growing concerns about the cost of living crisis.
According to the survey, 75% of UK small businesses expect to generate more revenue in the 2022 holiday season compared to 2021. Small businesses in the US are even more optimistic, with 77% of business owners expecting an increase in revenues.
Upwards of 80% of small business owners expect eCommerce will drive significantly more revenue in 2022 when compared to the previous year. This online focus is despite the return to near-normal shopping conditions following global lockdowns and social distancing measures that impacted footfall in traditional bricks and mortar business premises during the previous two years.
Despite such high levels of optimism, the survey results highlight that small business owners are also realistic about the difficulties they will face in these challenging economic times.
Small Business Challenges: Q4, 2022
Really, where do you begin when listing the challenges small business owners face in these unprecedented times?
According to the QuickBooks survey, small businesses are worried about the following:
- Hiring Skilled Staff: A staggering 99% of small business owners in Canada are reporting they are finding it hard to hire seasonal workers for the 2022 holiday season. Unfortunately, the situation isn’t much better in the US or UK, with 97% and 95%, respectively, struggling to hire good seasonal staff.
- Inventory Shortfalls: The threat of inflation has forced many small businesses to secure stock earlier than they typically would to avoid future price increases. Many small businesses (74% in the US and UK and 71% in Canada) are worried that they will not have enough stock to satisfy customer demand.
- Supply Chain Issues: The global supply chain is still recovering from the impact of Covid-19, with factory closures and logistics firms struggling to catch up with demand. The survey suggests 9 out of 10 small businesses have experienced supply chain problems. The number one supply chain issue is rising costs.
- Unpredictable Demand: As if small businesses don’t have enough going on this year, many believe it’s becoming more challenging to predict customer demand. 77% of small business owners in the UK accept this as a significant issue heading into Q4.
Overcoming eCommerce Challenges
While many small businesses are looking towards eCommerce for their revenue growth in 2022, the survey highlights that many entrepreneurs aren’t fully equipped to meet the challenges.
Nearly a third of small businesses surveyed suggested:
- They don’t know which media or sales channels are best suited to their business.
- They don’t understand how to track their return on investment on digital channels.
- They believe technology is too expensive.
- They believe technology is too complex.
- They don’t have enough marketing experience.
Perhaps due to this lack of knowledge or experience, more than half of the small businesses surveyed said they had no plans to offer special promotions or discounts this holiday season. This is concerning because it’s hard to understand how these businesses expect to hit their objectives of more income without any special promotions.
The Good News For Small Businesses This Holiday Season
The good news is, setting up your business for a successful holiday season doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It also doesn’t mean having your finger on the latest eCommerce trends. Sometimes, the most straightforward and profitable online sales channels have been with us for quite some time. For example, online marketplaces like eBay are primed to help you sell more.
While some sellers will tell you that selling on eBay and Amazon can be challenging, it’s much more intuitive than you would imagine. Just put yourself in the position of a buyer. What would you like to see before making a purchase?
- Clear product titles and descriptions.
- Good images (maybe even a video)
- Competitive pricing
- Free delivery
- Rapid shipping options
- Clear returns policies
- Clean design – putting everything in the right place and making everything easy to understand
- Branding – helping separate you from private and less professional sellers and promoting brand recognition leading to customer loyalty and future purchases
How Good Are Your eBay Listings
If, after listing your products on eBay, you are looking for a bit of reassurance, Frooition’s free eBay Listing Optimisation report will highlight how well your listing will perform in terms of visibility. It’s also possible to compare your listings against a competitor’s listings to see who has the competitive edge.
Running a successful online business is not an easy route to riches. But it’s also not something you require a degree in rocket science (or SpaceX size budget) to master. Instead, with the right focus, a little persistence, and the adoption of some fairly easy-to-follow best practices, you’ll soon find the optimism to take your business forward in these challenging circumstances. Here’s to optimism and hard work.