Transforming business practices and modernizing marketing in 2020

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With 2020 right around the corner, I wanted to share some 2020 transforming business practices and predictions from Yahoo Small Business’ leadership team.

  • Phil Grier, a Commerce Engineer at Yahoo Small Business predicts, small businesses will integrate AI into their overall business strategy, in turn transforming business practices and modernizing marketing tactics.
  • Dan Breeden, a Strategic Partner in Management at Yahoo Small Business predicts that 2020 will be the year of the ‘always-on’ small business.

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Small businesses will integrate AI into their overall business strategy, in turn transforming business practices and modernizing marketing tactics.

By Phil Grier, Commerce Engineer, Yahoo Small Business

In 2020, artificial intelligence (AI) will help to close gaps in merchant capabilities that many small businesses with limited resources face. With AI, small businesses can manage their stores seamlessly and efficiently, both by automating work processes (such as employee management, IT service administration, or compliance regulation management) and enabling better inventory and delivery management. AI-based chatbots and virtual assistants further streamline business transactions and increase operational efficiencies, while also providing an optimal customer experience.

We also expect 2020 to bring an uptick in new services that make AI app development more accessible and affordable for small businesses. These services will be similar to those offered by large public cloud providers, but easier to implement and manage, more affordable, and scaled to meet a small business’s needs. Due to their smaller and often nimbler nature, small businesses are poised to more easily and quickly adopt and implement corresponding emerging technologies. While AI efforts in larger enterprises sometimes become isolated and neglected by the overall executive team, in small businesses we expect to see a significant return on investment for AI initiatives as they focus on business-wide alignment, investment, and integration.

In addition to transforming business practices, AI will also transform marketing strategies and tactics. For small businesses that may not have a specialized department or resources available to dedicate solely to marketing, the use of AI assistants can help track metrics, detect anomalies, analyze ads, create and publish content, optimize campaigns, generate reports, and more. Implementation of AI assistants will also be used as a marketing tactic, streamlining the customer experience and improving transactions. In addition to integrating AI assistants into marketing strategies, video; images; and AI assistants will become increasingly important and relevant to SEO. With this, solutions to help SMBs in these areas will grow in popularity.

2020 will be the year of the 'always-on' small business

By Dan Breeden, Strategic Partner Management, Yahoo Small Business

As companies like Amazon continue to set buyer’s expectations for customer experience, it has become necessary for small businesses to adapt in order to keep pace. Successful small businesses in 2020 will increasingly adopt technologies and practices that help support an ‘always-on’ customer communications strategy. Through a combination of automated support chatbots, 24/7 social media responses, and spreading staff hours to monitor email and phone lines beyond a standard work day, small businesses will appear always-on and always-there. Small businesses that are able to meet these expectations—whether through seamless customer experiences, persistent accessibility, immediate responses, and more—will be most likely to build a loyal following.

This will become particularly important in 2020 as we see a counter-current of online shoppers looking to purchase unique items or to do business with smaller local merchants that share their passions, social, or environmental alignment, or who work in support of pet projects and causes. This niche consumer mindset creates an opportunity for small businesses to connect with customers on a deep, personal level and to create differentiation in both products, services, and service delivery.

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