Businesses are always growing and adapting to the latest trends. But for creative businesses like photographers, graphic designers and printing studios — who are often almost always small businesses — following the big trends is tough with a small staff and small budget. So what current trends do small creative businesses need to know in order to adapt and grow? We took a look at some of the biggest retail predictions from Vend and sorted out the biggest things that small creative businesses need to know.
Payment options are becoming much more varied
Paying for a service or product is no longer a “cash or credit” question. Magnetic stripe cards are slowly being replaced by cards with embedded computer chips that require special readers to use. Paying without a card at all and with a smartphone instead is also being an increasingly popular option with the rise of Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay, which uses NFC to send payment info quickly. Creative business owners need to be aware of these changes — and consider whether to add them to their payment options.
The shopping experience is becoming easier for the customer
Technology is helping smooth out the wrinkles in the customer’s experience — even in-person. Retail stores are using buttons — like Amazon Dash — for instant reorders and apps with a single barcode to put all offers in one spot. So what about photographers and other creative businesses? Look for small ways to help simplify the process, whether that’s enhancing an online ordering gallery or even adding a mobile ordering app.
“Omnichannel” will continue to grow
Omnichannel, or shopping both in-person and online, is continuing to grow. Merging both experiences is a key step in following this trend. Allowing customers to order prints online but pick them up in store, for example, is an omnichannel option that photographers and printers will likely want to adopt.
Social media continues to influence sales
Social media has long played a role in marketing, but now several channels are popping up to sell directly from social media. Soldsie is one option that allows Instagram users to purchase an item by commenting “sold” with their email — while it has worked well for fashion companies like TopShelf Style, it could also be a way for popular Instagrammers to sell photo display products and canvases of their top photos.
More products doesn’t necessarily mean more sales
At some point, variety quits being a customer perk and begins to get overwhelming. Subscription box services — that essentially eliminate the choice — are growing in popularity. Sometimes, offering the best print sizes and products that work with that particular photo or style is a better choice than listing a hundred different sizes and leaving customers dizzy with the potential options. That same concept could even be applied to the number of proofs photographers present to their clients, to some extent.
Mixing the online and in-person experience are the biggest trends coming to retail in the next year. Creative businesses should look for ways to merge both in-person meets as well as online platforms, from leveraging social media for sales to offering a variety of payment options.