The availability of technologically-driven resources has helped offset financial pressures experienced by a young generation of professionals seeking to establish themselves and their families. More than ever, the importance of personal financial management – especially for students and youth, but extending across the demographic spectrum to those in the prime of their working years and even approaching retirement – has been highlighted as a necessity for success. Frugality, in other words, is in: from side hustles to eco-optimization, from the gig economy to ultra-smart shopping, the dollar saved in unconventional and inventive fashion is seen as integral to the lifestyles many consumers wish to pursue.
As consumers look to make the most of their money, how can small businesses retain advocacy and patronage among their core customer base? Appealing to a money-smart populace will help your business become a beacon for conscious consumers, and doing so effectively goes beyond the prices you set for your goods and services.
Recognize the Importance of SEO to Customer Research
The savvy consumer is characterized by a strong drive to research and optimize, a goal made all the easier by the effectiveness of online search. Bringing your business up to speed with the most relevant keywords, a catchy “slug” of text that accompanies your page, and a review/feedback-friendly site structure will ensure that discriminating customers looking for the best deal will turn right to you when they take to search engines.
Bring Back Quality
Cheap and cheerful does not necessarily equate with smart when it comes to making a purchase decision. Many consumers are ditching the “fast-fashion” and trend-hopping impulses when shopping, and will seek out designs that are built to last. High quality in manufacturing (and commitment to long term service and care) are major attractors that small businesses can offer. Having more control over the quality of your goods is one of the most important advantages that small businesses can offer in this context.
Don’t Count on a Reversal of Fortune
Many businesses have treated the new economic realities of the twenty-teens as a passing concern, and are content to manage their inventory and pricing in such a way that suggests holding out until the trouble passes. Consider, however, the long term imprint on consumer consciousness that a more frugal or cautionary economic environment might impart. What an advisor might have called short-term frugality is evolving into a more stabilized mindset of mindful spending practices that is taking root among more and more consumers. Retailers and small businesses cannot afford to think of a new breed of intelligent, spending-conscious shoppers as a passing trend. Forecasts will need to be adjusted, operating costs tuned, and inventory curated to reflect the new climate.
With these concepts in mind, small businesses can become allies of the conscious consumer movement without suffering from lapses or decline in business volume.