Back in 2010, as America was still reeling from the 2008 recession, American Express launched Small Business Saturday®. The Saturday following Thanksgiving was designated in support of the shop small movement, to encourage shoppers to spend their holiday dollars at small, local businesses.
Fast-forward to 2021, and the idea has taken hold. But today, the desire to shop small and support local business isn’t just restricted to a single day once a year. In a recent survey that we commissioned, we learned that 94 percent of consumers want to support small business – maybe in reaction to the fact that the ubiquitous online giant Amazon grew nearly 38% over the pandemic year. But while consumers have indicated that they want to shop small, the same survey revealed that 87% have turned to online shopping because supporting small local business was just too inconvenient.
How Big is the Problem?
Unfortunately, the small local business failure rate is pretty steady. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statisticsindicates that around 20% of small business fail during year one – and that failure rate jumps to 50% in the first five years of business.
What’s a Small, Local Business To Do?
There are myriad business blogs out there that offer various tips and tricks for SMBs. But here’s an interesting data point that you won’t find anywhere else: 78 percent of consumersindicated that text messaging would make it easier to shop small. Wireless messaging is growing fast, with an increase of 119B messages over the previous period.
So if your SMB wants to counter the competitive pressure from big eCommerce platforms, texting is a critical tool in your toolbelt.
Business Texting Challenges
The challenge with business texting, is that it can be hard to manage without a solution in place, and expensive if you implement a dedicated platform.
Without a solution in place, you’re likely using your personal mobile device to text with customers – and your employees probably are too. So you don’t have a window on what your team is doing, and it’s hard to tell who’s talking to who, what’s been promised and where the conversation left off. What’s worse, if your employees leave, they take those conversations – and customers – with them.
On the other hand, dedicated business texting solutions solve for this but can be expensive, starting at $25 per month for one user. And that’s just for texting!
SMS Solutions GiveSmall, Local Businesses a Second Wind
If you want to capture the business of 76 percent of consumers who said that they’d be more likely to shop small at a local business that offered business texting, you need a feature-rich option with a price tag sized for your business. You want to get creative in how you approach SMS for your SMB.
1. Look for a solution that does double duty
The first step to getting business texting for your business is to decide how you want to approach it. Chances are, you’re reluctant to invest in a dedicated business texting platform. But solutions like Cloudli TalkNTextbring together voice service and business texting in a single app, for less. As an added bonus, having voice and text unified in one app makes it easier to follow the complete conversation thread – calls and texts – so you see the full story for each customer.
2. Understand features
Implementing business texting to take advantage of the shop small movement makes sense – but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the features out there, and challenging to know what you actually need. Features like shared company numbers help you to balance responsibility for customer communications across your team, and keep everyone in the loop. Business hours and text message auto replies make it easier to set boundaries between work time and personal time, without leaving customers in the lurch.
3. Keep the customer in mind
At the end of the day, implementing business texting to help customers shop small is really about meeting customer expectations around how they interact with you. With 5G coverage now reaching 300M Americans – over 90% of the entire country – mobile devices and the ubiquitous text messages are where your customers are, wherever that may be.
Put Shop Small to Work for Your Local Business
We know that American consumers want to support small businesses. But we also know that the siren song of big eCommerce is convenience – and SMBs are at risk.
Consumers have told us that SMS is an effective way to make it easier to support small business – and fortunately, putting business texting to work for you is also easy, with solutions like Cloudli TalkNText. For as little as $9 per user, per month, voice and texting are at your disposal. Wondering what business texting can do for your local business? Try Cloudli TalkNText free for 30 days, today.