Consumer trends can change the way you do business

December 29, 2015 - Tags: Managing

In an increasingly crowded marketplace, it can be difficult to stand out and to attract new customers. Capitalizing on emerging consumer trends, both at home and abroad, can help your business stay relevant and get ahead of the competition. It's important to know how to identify significant trends, and how to take advantage of them.

Market trends come from a variety of sources, particularly those that change over time like customer needs, demographics, social behaviours, and new technologies. If you run a small business, you need to look ahead and think about the potential impact these changes could have on your business. Doing so will help you make the most out of them.

What can market trends do for your business?

  • Provide opportunities to grow
  • Help maintain customer loyalty
  • Allow you to refine your marketing efforts
  • Keep your business current and visible

For example, let's say you produce and sell personal care cosmetics. If there is a trend in the beauty industry toward more organic items inspired by nature, you might decide to reflect those values in your production and packaging design. Ask yourself if this is right for your brand, and whether it's worth the investment to change your operations.

At times, you may be faced with competing market trends, or customer segments who want different things. Other times, what appears to be an emerging global trend might not materialize or last long enough to be worthwhile. Focus on your strengths, and don't try to be everything to everyone.

How to take advantage of emerging trends

Identify trends early to help you strategize. Look at:

  • When people most frequently visit your retail store or website
  • When and how they engage with you on social media
  • Trends in purchasing like products that are often purchased together
  • How seasons and weather affect your business

Keep an eye on your suppliers' markets and the markets of any businesses you collaborate with, as they can influence your own.

You can also hire trend forecasters, who look at everything from user metrics to global patterns to help you predict what's coming next. While forecasts aren't always reliable, they can give you a place to start, and if you're lucky, that's a step or two ahead of the competition.

With relevant information about the latest in trends, you will be better prepared to make strategic and operational decisions. Not only will it be good for business, it will help keep your customers happy too!

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