Watching Amazon: Online Grocery Shopping Rose 7x in a Month

online grocery shopping growth pandemic

Amazon maintained its position in the number one spot and saw its brand value increase 32%, or almost $100 billion, to $415.8 billion, according to the 15th annual Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking released earlier this week by advertising firm WPP and research firm Kantar.

And they are smoking the competition, as #2 Apple is over $50 billion behind.

It’s easy to see that COVID-19 has been a big factor in this increase in value, as the size and speed of the shift to online shopping brought on by the virus caught everyone off guard.

But even after a shaky period at the beginning of the crisis, Amazon seems to have weathered the storm and is operating at levels customers have grown accustomed to.

And because the pandemic has accelerated the move to the world being even more digital, it has also positioned Amazon to be even more successful in a Post Covid world.

Growth of Online Grocery Shopping During Pandemic

My Watching Amazon co-host John Lawson and I talk about how this, and how Google looks to be responding to a downtrend in digital ad spending during the pandemic – that might also help them fend off Amazon in the long run.

And a couple of other things that happened in Amazon world this week. Below is an edited transcript of a portion of our conversation.

Click on the embedded SoundCloud player below to hear the full conversation.

Brent Leary: We talked so much about how Amazon got hammered in the first part of the pandemic.

John Lawson: Absolutely. I saw a story. Now, if you get to catch this, it’s really good to watch. CNBC did a thing on grocery special, on the grocery stores and the pandemic. And it was really interesting, but a couple of numbers that I got from that, was that online shopping for groceries was about 3% pre-COVID. And that rose, literally, in less than 30 days, to 21%. That’s 7X. Any kind of business that just overnight goes 7X up, it’s impossible to keep up with. And that was really interesting to see some of those numbers. Wow.

Brent Leary: A recent survey found that 20% of those polled bought physical goods online for the first time during the pandemic. 20%. First time they’ve ever bought anything online, physical goods. And it was just because of the pandemic. And then followed up with, 46% also said they would keep on purchasing online more frequently once we get past the pandemic. And then the last one, this is why Amazon is in such a great position, and it’s not good to say because of the pandemic. But it’s just facts here. Because people were forced to buy more stuff online, they ended up doing it. And then they realized, you know what? It’s not that bad buying this stuff online. And then only 8% said they will reduce online shopping post-COVID. All of this lines up for what, I guess, we’re seeing all over the place, which is everybody’s saying Amazon is going double their share price in the next couple of years. Because the pandemic actually accelerated the move for people to buy online at a bigger rate than it was before. And there’s no going back.

John Lawson: I won’t say there’s no going back. There’s different parts of that that will go back. It’s like, yes, I’m buying my groceries online, but when I can go back to actually touching my fruit, I’ll probably go back to touching the fruit. But there’s some areas that are definitely going to see and maintain that increase. I had a friend that actually bought a car online, but I don’t see that sustaining. Once post-COVID is over, I think people are going to go back and test drive a vehicle. So yes, you’re going to maintain some of that, but then there’s other industries that might float backwards.

Brent Leary: Well, I think that it was a general statement, that people were forced into doing something that they had never done before. And because they were forced into it, some folks, and it seems like a pretty significant amount of folks, realized, man, this ain’t bad. And then, even once things get back to whatever the new normal is, part of the new normal is, a percentage of folks will maintain buying stuff online that they had not bought before. Even though things will be more open up to go back to the way they want. Yeah. That’s what I think.
Just lets me know, where do you shop? Because I don’t want to shop there once you go back to touching things.

Google Moves to Expand Free Retail Listings to Counter Growing Ad Rivalry with Amazon

Brent Leary: Google announced they will expand free retail listings to its main search page in. They had already changed the rules so that merchants could list items in the Google shopping selection for free, but they still had to pay for a slot at the top of the main Google search page.
Google’s feeling the pain just… Well, maybe not like Facebook. But Google is feeling the pain as a lot of companies are not doing digital ad stuff right now.

John Lawson: Yeah. Yeah. Well, if you think about it too, when you say a lot of companies are not doing, they’re not spending the money on digital ads?

Brent Leary: Right, right, right.

John Lawson: Right? And does Amazon have the ability to counter this? I don’t think they do.

Brent Leary: Amazon is already countering it, let’s think about this. The uptick in shopping online, Amazon is getting more of that fair share of that uptick. So if people are cutting back their ads, but online retail is still going crazy, guess who’s benefiting from that? Amazon is getting it one way or the other. So Google is trying to figure out how do they get sellers to sell stuff on their platform? They’re trying every which way, but people don’t want to advertise.
So Google, I think, is trying to figure out a way to fend off Amazon, in one way, and keep their advertisers and I guess third party sellers, try to make some headways with them. And I think it’s tough for them right now to do that, but they’ve got to do something because the big brands are not spending as much as they used to on Google ad work right now. At least right now.

John Lawson: I don’t think that’s really the case. We’ll see when the earnings come out for second quarter. Google stock is doing well. Google is not like, oh my God, Amazon’s coming for our core business. I don’t think that’s even close. However, I do think that when it comes to advertising and advertising of hard goods, that there was a niche and an opportunity there that Google themselves never adequately navigated, in my opinion. I don’t think they ever navigated advertising for product very well. And that allowed Amazon to sneak in and make a lot of inroads in that area. I think Google-

Brent Leary: The initial business model for Google was not to point people to where they could shop. It was about finding information and-

John Lawson: No. Let’s remember. Wait. Hold on. You don’t remember something called Froogle.

Brent Leary: Was that the initial part of Google, or was that an add on?

John Lawson: No. I’m just saying that was Google’s shopping platform was Froogle. And Froogle was great. It was 100% free. All right? And it was just a shopping for you to… It would suck all your stuff out of your store, a lot of eBay stores, and it would list it. And it’d make it easy to find. I think that concept needs to come back. I think part of Google search should literally be product search.

Brent Leary: Yeah. Well, but-

John Lawson: Without paying.

Brent Leary: But I think it was originally that until people were like, well, why don’t I just go to Amazon and search.

John Lawson: Not really.

Brent Leary: It was what, three or four years ago, since Amazon became number one destination for product search?

John Lawson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brent Leary: Yeah. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

John Lawson: I’m saying product search is different than text search.

Brent Leary: But product search is intent search because they want to buy something.

John Lawson: Right. And if I want to buy something, I need to see the picture. I need to see the description of said thing. When you do that on Google, you don’t get any of that experience, or you didn’t really get that experience.

Brent Leary: They tacked it on. And they also didn’t get ratings and reviews right away.

John Lawson: Exactly.

Brent Leary: Because of all that, people started going directly to Amazon for product searching.

John Lawson: Right, but Google has all that data. All that data,

Brent Leary: They have all that data, but their business model was not set up for people being able to buy stuff right from there.

John Lawson: They need to get that set up. They got all the components. They got GooglePay.

Brent Leary: I think they’re trying.

John Lawson: Look. See, that’s what I’m saying. I don’t think they were trying. I think if they do try, they’re going to have a little bit of, could be awhile-

Brent Leary: Why weren’t they trying? Why weren’t they trying real hard? Because look at the margins on retail. Look at the margins they had on ads. They had huge margins and-

John Lawson: Oh, yeah. Retail versus … Yes, absolutely.

Brent Leary: Right. But they were optimizing around that. And let’s face it, retail is a tough market, even if it’s online retail.. And supply chain isn’t easy. I think-

John Lawson: No, they need to stay out of that part.

Brent Leary: I think they need to figure out how can they best position themselves for what digital ads and digital campaigns are going to look like after COVID, because they’re going to look different than what they were before COVID. And they could position themselves, because they are the leader already, just generally speaking. So how do they take that lead and change the way that they need to keep that lead after we get through this pandemic.

John Lawson: Look at LinkedIn User’s comment says, “I always use Google because I get options. Usually end up in Amazon, since there are not many other results that matter.” I think that is the most important part, is that when you do a thing on Amazon, you’re not going to get a whole lot of different options, as you would in Google-

Brent Leary: That’s because they are optimized to sell something at the end of the interaction. How does Amazon make it easy for us to find what we want, make that decision, click the buy button, and then stand by our doorstep 24 hours later with our stuff? Google’s not optimized for that. Amazon is. And that’s why it’s going to be hard for them to try to attack on Amazon’s territory. And maybe it’s a little easier for Amazon to attack Google on their territory with the digital ad plan.

John Lawson: I disagree, but we’ll see.

Brent Leary: What else is new? You always disagree with me.

John Lawson: I think you’re saying that Amazon has an advantage.

Brent Leary: I think I’m saying –

John Lawson: That Google can’t match in its advantage, and I think Google has some tools up its sleeves too that Amazon doesn’t have. And definitely data-wise I think they do.

Brent Leary: I think you’re right about that. But it’s also about being able to actually execute. And Google has shown that they have hard times when it comes to physical products. Some of their own-

John Lawson: Here’s the thing. And that’s a good point. I think you leave Amazon in the physical product space. Don’t try to compete with that. That’s where they had their problems. When it comes to actual search, there’s nothing that compares to Google search on the planet. Amazon search is not even close. Amazon is not in my pocket. Google knows everywhere I’ve been, where I’m going, and everything that comes out of my mouth. They have to utilize that and figure out how they can use that to the advantage of the end user to make shopping experience better.

Brent Leary: I totally agree with you on that. Google is the search king, but there’s an opportunity, not just for Amazon. There is an opportunity, because search is changing more and more to voice search, which is a completely different animal. And that leaves some opportunities for, not just Amazon, but for others, to figure out how do they leverage voice search and be able to optimize voice search and voice conversations that could turn into actually connecting a retail experience that starts with a voice search versus a retail experience that starts with a traditional text search? There’s some opportunities. I think Google should be trying to optimize for that, because to me, that’s where this is going faster and faster.

CHECK OUT MORE: 

This article, "Watching Amazon: Online Grocery Shopping Rose 7x in a Month" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

Watching Amazon: Online Grocery Shopping Rose 7x in a Month

online grocery shopping growth pandemic

Amazon maintained its position in the number one spot and saw its brand value increase 32%, or almost $100 billion, to $415.8 billion, according to the 15th annual Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking released earlier this week by advertising firm WPP and research firm Kantar.

And they are smoking the competition, as #2 Apple is over $50 billion behind.

It’s easy to see that COVID-19 has been a big factor in this increase in value, as the size and speed of the shift to online shopping brought on by the virus caught everyone off guard.

But even after a shaky period at the beginning of the crisis, Amazon seems to have weathered the storm and is operating at levels customers have grown accustomed to.

And because the pandemic has accelerated the move to the world being even more digital, it has also positioned Amazon to be even more successful in a Post Covid world.

Growth of Online Grocery Shopping During Pandemic

My Watching Amazon co-host John Lawson and I talk about how this, and how Google looks to be responding to a downtrend in digital ad spending during the pandemic – that might also help them fend off Amazon in the long run.

And a couple of other things that happened in Amazon world this week. Below is an edited transcript of a portion of our conversation.

Click on the embedded SoundCloud player below to hear the full conversation.

Brent Leary: We talked so much about how Amazon got hammered in the first part of the pandemic.

John Lawson: Absolutely. I saw a story. Now, if you get to catch this, it’s really good to watch. CNBC did a thing on grocery special, on the grocery stores and the pandemic. And it was really interesting, but a couple of numbers that I got from that, was that online shopping for groceries was about 3% pre-COVID. And that rose, literally, in less than 30 days, to 21%. That’s 7X. Any kind of business that just overnight goes 7X up, it’s impossible to keep up with. And that was really interesting to see some of those numbers. Wow.

Brent Leary: A recent survey found that 20% of those polled bought physical goods online for the first time during the pandemic. 20%. First time they’ve ever bought anything online, physical goods. And it was just because of the pandemic. And then followed up with, 46% also said they would keep on purchasing online more frequently once we get past the pandemic. And then the last one, this is why Amazon is in such a great position, and it’s not good to say because of the pandemic. But it’s just facts here. Because people were forced to buy more stuff online, they ended up doing it. And then they realized, you know what? It’s not that bad buying this stuff online. And then only 8% said they will reduce online shopping post-COVID. All of this lines up for what, I guess, we’re seeing all over the place, which is everybody’s saying Amazon is going double their share price in the next couple of years. Because the pandemic actually accelerated the move for people to buy online at a bigger rate than it was before. And there’s no going back.

John Lawson: I won’t say there’s no going back. There’s different parts of that that will go back. It’s like, yes, I’m buying my groceries online, but when I can go back to actually touching my fruit, I’ll probably go back to touching the fruit. But there’s some areas that are definitely going to see and maintain that increase. I had a friend that actually bought a car online, but I don’t see that sustaining. Once post-COVID is over, I think people are going to go back and test drive a vehicle. So yes, you’re going to maintain some of that, but then there’s other industries that might float backwards.

Brent Leary: Well, I think that it was a general statement, that people were forced into doing something that they had never done before. And because they were forced into it, some folks, and it seems like a pretty significant amount of folks, realized, man, this ain’t bad. And then, even once things get back to whatever the new normal is, part of the new normal is, a percentage of folks will maintain buying stuff online that they had not bought before. Even though things will be more open up to go back to the way they want. Yeah. That’s what I think.
Just lets me know, where do you shop? Because I don’t want to shop there once you go back to touching things.

Google Moves to Expand Free Retail Listings to Counter Growing Ad Rivalry with Amazon

Brent Leary: Google announced they will expand free retail listings to its main search page in. They had already changed the rules so that merchants could list items in the Google shopping selection for free, but they still had to pay for a slot at the top of the main Google search page.
Google’s feeling the pain just… Well, maybe not like Facebook. But Google is feeling the pain as a lot of companies are not doing digital ad stuff right now.

John Lawson: Yeah. Yeah. Well, if you think about it too, when you say a lot of companies are not doing, they’re not spending the money on digital ads?

Brent Leary: Right, right, right.

John Lawson: Right? And does Amazon have the ability to counter this? I don’t think they do.

Brent Leary: Amazon is already countering it, let’s think about this. The uptick in shopping online, Amazon is getting more of that fair share of that uptick. So if people are cutting back their ads, but online retail is still going crazy, guess who’s benefiting from that? Amazon is getting it one way or the other. So Google is trying to figure out how do they get sellers to sell stuff on their platform? They’re trying every which way, but people don’t want to advertise.
So Google, I think, is trying to figure out a way to fend off Amazon, in one way, and keep their advertisers and I guess third party sellers, try to make some headways with them. And I think it’s tough for them right now to do that, but they’ve got to do something because the big brands are not spending as much as they used to on Google ad work right now. At least right now.

John Lawson: I don’t think that’s really the case. We’ll see when the earnings come out for second quarter. Google stock is doing well. Google is not like, oh my God, Amazon’s coming for our core business. I don’t think that’s even close. However, I do think that when it comes to advertising and advertising of hard goods, that there was a niche and an opportunity there that Google themselves never adequately navigated, in my opinion. I don’t think they ever navigated advertising for product very well. And that allowed Amazon to sneak in and make a lot of inroads in that area. I think Google-

Brent Leary: The initial business model for Google was not to point people to where they could shop. It was about finding information and-

John Lawson: No. Let’s remember. Wait. Hold on. You don’t remember something called Froogle.

Brent Leary: Was that the initial part of Google, or was that an add on?

John Lawson: No. I’m just saying that was Google’s shopping platform was Froogle. And Froogle was great. It was 100% free. All right? And it was just a shopping for you to… It would suck all your stuff out of your store, a lot of eBay stores, and it would list it. And it’d make it easy to find. I think that concept needs to come back. I think part of Google search should literally be product search.

Brent Leary: Yeah. Well, but-

John Lawson: Without paying.

Brent Leary: But I think it was originally that until people were like, well, why don’t I just go to Amazon and search.

John Lawson: Not really.

Brent Leary: It was what, three or four years ago, since Amazon became number one destination for product search?

John Lawson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brent Leary: Yeah. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

John Lawson: I’m saying product search is different than text search.

Brent Leary: But product search is intent search because they want to buy something.

John Lawson: Right. And if I want to buy something, I need to see the picture. I need to see the description of said thing. When you do that on Google, you don’t get any of that experience, or you didn’t really get that experience.

Brent Leary: They tacked it on. And they also didn’t get ratings and reviews right away.

John Lawson: Exactly.

Brent Leary: Because of all that, people started going directly to Amazon for product searching.

John Lawson: Right, but Google has all that data. All that data,

Brent Leary: They have all that data, but their business model was not set up for people being able to buy stuff right from there.

John Lawson: They need to get that set up. They got all the components. They got GooglePay.

Brent Leary: I think they’re trying.

John Lawson: Look. See, that’s what I’m saying. I don’t think they were trying. I think if they do try, they’re going to have a little bit of, could be awhile-

Brent Leary: Why weren’t they trying? Why weren’t they trying real hard? Because look at the margins on retail. Look at the margins they had on ads. They had huge margins and-

John Lawson: Oh, yeah. Retail versus … Yes, absolutely.

Brent Leary: Right. But they were optimizing around that. And let’s face it, retail is a tough market, even if it’s online retail.. And supply chain isn’t easy. I think-

John Lawson: No, they need to stay out of that part.

Brent Leary: I think they need to figure out how can they best position themselves for what digital ads and digital campaigns are going to look like after COVID, because they’re going to look different than what they were before COVID. And they could position themselves, because they are the leader already, just generally speaking. So how do they take that lead and change the way that they need to keep that lead after we get through this pandemic.

John Lawson: Look at LinkedIn User’s comment says, “I always use Google because I get options. Usually end up in Amazon, since there are not many other results that matter.” I think that is the most important part, is that when you do a thing on Amazon, you’re not going to get a whole lot of different options, as you would in Google-

Brent Leary: That’s because they are optimized to sell something at the end of the interaction. How does Amazon make it easy for us to find what we want, make that decision, click the buy button, and then stand by our doorstep 24 hours later with our stuff? Google’s not optimized for that. Amazon is. And that’s why it’s going to be hard for them to try to attack on Amazon’s territory. And maybe it’s a little easier for Amazon to attack Google on their territory with the digital ad plan.

John Lawson: I disagree, but we’ll see.

Brent Leary: What else is new? You always disagree with me.

John Lawson: I think you’re saying that Amazon has an advantage.

Brent Leary: I think I’m saying –

John Lawson: That Google can’t match in its advantage, and I think Google has some tools up its sleeves too that Amazon doesn’t have. And definitely data-wise I think they do.

Brent Leary: I think you’re right about that. But it’s also about being able to actually execute. And Google has shown that they have hard times when it comes to physical products. Some of their own-

John Lawson: Here’s the thing. And that’s a good point. I think you leave Amazon in the physical product space. Don’t try to compete with that. That’s where they had their problems. When it comes to actual search, there’s nothing that compares to Google search on the planet. Amazon search is not even close. Amazon is not in my pocket. Google knows everywhere I’ve been, where I’m going, and everything that comes out of my mouth. They have to utilize that and figure out how they can use that to the advantage of the end user to make shopping experience better.

Brent Leary: I totally agree with you on that. Google is the search king, but there’s an opportunity, not just for Amazon. There is an opportunity, because search is changing more and more to voice search, which is a completely different animal. And that leaves some opportunities for, not just Amazon, but for others, to figure out how do they leverage voice search and be able to optimize voice search and voice conversations that could turn into actually connecting a retail experience that starts with a voice search versus a retail experience that starts with a traditional text search? There’s some opportunities. I think Google should be trying to optimize for that, because to me, that’s where this is going faster and faster.

CHECK OUT MORE: 

This article, "Watching Amazon: Online Grocery Shopping Rose 7x in a Month" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

In the News – New Food Service Tools Help Restaurants Match Latest Consumer Trends

curbside service restaurant

Our world, for better or worse, is becoming increasingly touchless.

And you won’t see that trend any more than at a local restaurant. In order to stay open in many states, dine-in restaurants – of which thousands are small businesses – are forced to adapt to new health and safety guidelines all the time.

Right now, that means implementing a lot less personal, one-on-one interactions. But the less personal doesn’t need to be impersonal and some companies are creating new technology that makes the restaurant dining experience as familiar as it was just at the beginning of this year.

This week, two companies introduced new tools for restaurant owners that help owners stay open and serving customers while observing all proper social distancing and safety standards.

Check out these articles published this week that deal with this subject:

SpeedPro Releases New Touchless Menu Technology for Restaurants and Bars

As lockdown restriction ease up and restaurants and eateries start to open, SpeedPro has released a new signage technology to help maintain social distancing for customers with touchless menus. The new SpeedPro InfoLnkX, allows diners to make orders using their phones instead of handheld menus for safer dining experiences.

Bevi Introduces New Touchless Beverage Dispensing System

A new dispensing feature lets people get flavored water without a touchscreen. The tech startup Bevi is rolling out the new technology on July 13. The new feature stops employees from touching things like refrigerators and shared water coolers. This is important as the economy reopens . It uses a smartphone camera or a scanner app.

Changes like these we all never expected. That’s for sure. But no matter how we feel about restrictions on our business, it’s the customers who grow more accustomed to these “norms”. And many sort of like the changes.

One of those big changes is curbside pickup of orders. Check out this article on a new survey released this week on consumer trends related to COVID-induced business practices:

86% of Consumers Want a Local Business to Continue Pandemic Services Like Curbside Pickup

New research is finding Americans like social distance services like curbside pickup. And they want them to continue even after the pandemic is over. The State of Local Business survey from Podium reports that 84% of respondents have used tech-enables services like contactless payments too. The vast majority (86%) expect they will continue.

For the rest of the week in small business headlines, check out our weekly news roundup below:

Small Business News Headlines – Week of July 3, 2020

Unused Assets Cost American Companies $55 Billion in March and April

If stay-at-home orders amid the Covid-19 crisis have made some of your business assets idle, you’re not alone. According to the latest report from Motus, unused assets cost businesses over $55 billion in March and April 2020.

Thimble Partners with Angie’s List to Provide Short-Term Small Business Insurance

Businesses which are members of Angie’s list will now be able to buy short-term insurance from Thimble. Thimble is the IAC-backed company that uniquely offers business insurance that can be started, paused or cancelled on demand. Just how short is the short term? Insurance can be purchased by the hour, day or month.

67% of Companies Expect Work From Home to Be Permanent or Long-Lasting

About two-thirds of businesses that have adopted remote work policies as a result of COVID-19 plan to keep at least some of those policies in place long-term or permanently, according to a recent study. The pandemic has forced more businesses than ever to rapidly adopt a work from home model.

80% of Small Business Owners Say Pandemic Hurt Business – 55% Feel Positive About Future

The coronavirus has affected most small businesses in one way or another. So if your small business has been suffering due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, you are not alone. According to the latest survey from Tech.co, 80% of small business owners accepted that COVID-19 has hurt their businesses.

Yahoo Small Business Offers Free Website for 1 Year with Get Online Offer

Small businesses looking to connect with customers can now get a website for free. Yahoo Small Business is offering their Get Online offer. The offer lasts for one year. That’s good news for the sizeable number of business owners looking to get a website  for the first time in 2020.  And those looking to make the move to the digital economy as COVID-19 restrictions loosen up.

UPS Launches Logistics Help Portal, Offers Discount to Small Business

As small businesses move towards reopening, United Parcel Service (UPS) has launched a dedicated portal to help them with their shipping needs. The new package by the messenger and delivery service company includes discounts, advice and other resources targeting the needs of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Grant Freeman of Thryv on Success During the Surge

This is an economic downturn like we never have seen in this country in the last 100 years because states mandated the closing of so many commercial enterprises. But this also can mean that it might be the quickest recovery small businesses have ever seen.

SHRM Launches New LegalShield Service for Small Business

SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) has launched a product, LegalShield, for human resources professionals working for small businesses. SHRM is dedicated to creating better work spaces where employees and employers can thrive. The network has more than 300,000 members HR and business executive members in 165 countries.

HelloWoofy Updates Offer Affordable Social Media Management to Small Business

HelloWoofy, a smart social media management platform, just announced a series of new features, including integration with Hootsuite. This means that Hootsuite’s existing 18 million customers can now access HelloWoofy’s intelligent technology on top of the Hootsuite dashboard for $49 a year.

What You Should Know About Self Employment

Nearly 25 million Americans consider themselves self-employed. And as workplace trends toward working at home and alone, the opportunity to become your own boss by starting a business may be more enticing than ever.

The changing times are creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and self-starters. And it’s likely that in a few months, many more Americans may consider themselves self-employed.

Be sure to check out our updated article on everything you need to know now about self-employment, including the types of self-employment and your responsibilities for each.

How Has COVID 19 Altered Your Retirement Plan?

Qualified retirement plans are a key component of financial security for owners and their employees. The SECURE Act in December 2019 and the CARES Act in March 2020 made significant changes in various rules related to retirement plans.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "In the News – New Food Service Tools Help Restaurants Match Latest Consumer Trends" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

In the News – New Food Service Tools Help Restaurants Match Latest Consumer Trends

curbside service restaurant

Our world, for better or worse, is becoming increasingly touchless.

And you won’t see that trend any more than at a local restaurant. In order to stay open in many states, dine-in restaurants – of which thousands are small businesses – are forced to adapt to new health and safety guidelines all the time.

Right now, that means implementing a lot less personal, one-on-one interactions. But the less personal doesn’t need to be impersonal and some companies are creating new technology that makes the restaurant dining experience as familiar as it was just at the beginning of this year.

This week, two companies introduced new tools for restaurant owners that help owners stay open and serving customers while observing all proper social distancing and safety standards.

Check out these articles published this week that deal with this subject:

SpeedPro Releases New Touchless Menu Technology for Restaurants and Bars

As lockdown restriction ease up and restaurants and eateries start to open, SpeedPro has released a new signage technology to help maintain social distancing for customers with touchless menus. The new SpeedPro InfoLnkX, allows diners to make orders using their phones instead of handheld menus for safer dining experiences.

Bevi Introduces New Touchless Beverage Dispensing System

A new dispensing feature lets people get flavored water without a touchscreen. The tech startup Bevi is rolling out the new technology on July 13. The new feature stops employees from touching things like refrigerators and shared water coolers. This is important as the economy reopens . It uses a smartphone camera or a scanner app.

Changes like these we all never expected. That’s for sure. But no matter how we feel about restrictions on our business, it’s the customers who grow more accustomed to these “norms”. And many sort of like the changes.

One of those big changes is curbside pickup of orders. Check out this article on a new survey released this week on consumer trends related to COVID-induced business practices:

86% of Consumers Want a Local Business to Continue Pandemic Services Like Curbside Pickup

New research is finding Americans like social distance services like curbside pickup. And they want them to continue even after the pandemic is over. The State of Local Business survey from Podium reports that 84% of respondents have used tech-enables services like contactless payments too. The vast majority (86%) expect they will continue.

For the rest of the week in small business headlines, check out our weekly news roundup below:

Small Business News Headlines – Week of July 3, 2020

Unused Assets Cost American Companies $55 Billion in March and April

If stay-at-home orders amid the Covid-19 crisis have made some of your business assets idle, you’re not alone. According to the latest report from Motus, unused assets cost businesses over $55 billion in March and April 2020.

Thimble Partners with Angie’s List to Provide Short-Term Small Business Insurance

Businesses which are members of Angie’s list will now be able to buy short-term insurance from Thimble. Thimble is the IAC-backed company that uniquely offers business insurance that can be started, paused or cancelled on demand. Just how short is the short term? Insurance can be purchased by the hour, day or month.

67% of Companies Expect Work From Home to Be Permanent or Long-Lasting

About two-thirds of businesses that have adopted remote work policies as a result of COVID-19 plan to keep at least some of those policies in place long-term or permanently, according to a recent study. The pandemic has forced more businesses than ever to rapidly adopt a work from home model.

80% of Small Business Owners Say Pandemic Hurt Business – 55% Feel Positive About Future

The coronavirus has affected most small businesses in one way or another. So if your small business has been suffering due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, you are not alone. According to the latest survey from Tech.co, 80% of small business owners accepted that COVID-19 has hurt their businesses.

Yahoo Small Business Offers Free Website for 1 Year with Get Online Offer

Small businesses looking to connect with customers can now get a website for free. Yahoo Small Business is offering their Get Online offer. The offer lasts for one year. That’s good news for the sizeable number of business owners looking to get a website  for the first time in 2020.  And those looking to make the move to the digital economy as COVID-19 restrictions loosen up.

UPS Launches Logistics Help Portal, Offers Discount to Small Business

As small businesses move towards reopening, United Parcel Service (UPS) has launched a dedicated portal to help them with their shipping needs. The new package by the messenger and delivery service company includes discounts, advice and other resources targeting the needs of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Grant Freeman of Thryv on Success During the Surge

This is an economic downturn like we never have seen in this country in the last 100 years because states mandated the closing of so many commercial enterprises. But this also can mean that it might be the quickest recovery small businesses have ever seen.

SHRM Launches New LegalShield Service for Small Business

SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) has launched a product, LegalShield, for human resources professionals working for small businesses. SHRM is dedicated to creating better work spaces where employees and employers can thrive. The network has more than 300,000 members HR and business executive members in 165 countries.

HelloWoofy Updates Offer Affordable Social Media Management to Small Business

HelloWoofy, a smart social media management platform, just announced a series of new features, including integration with Hootsuite. This means that Hootsuite’s existing 18 million customers can now access HelloWoofy’s intelligent technology on top of the Hootsuite dashboard for $49 a year.

What You Should Know About Self Employment

Nearly 25 million Americans consider themselves self-employed. And as workplace trends toward working at home and alone, the opportunity to become your own boss by starting a business may be more enticing than ever.

The changing times are creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and self-starters. And it’s likely that in a few months, many more Americans may consider themselves self-employed.

Be sure to check out our updated article on everything you need to know now about self-employment, including the types of self-employment and your responsibilities for each.

How Has COVID 19 Altered Your Retirement Plan?

Qualified retirement plans are a key component of financial security for owners and their employees. The SECURE Act in December 2019 and the CARES Act in March 2020 made significant changes in various rules related to retirement plans.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "In the News – New Food Service Tools Help Restaurants Match Latest Consumer Trends" was first published on Small Business Trends



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3 Ways to Make the Conversion Back to the Workspace Easier

Your employees may feel a range of emotions as the office reopens for business. Excited to see friends again, of course, but also nervous about new expectations and cautious amid new surroundings. Were those plexiglass barriers always there?

New normal workplace

The comfort and safety of workers is paramount as you return to an office setting, and you as a small business leader can take plenty of precautionary measures to alleviate many of the worries people have about clustering together again. Some will likely be changes to your physical space, such as designated traffic lanes and occupancy limits. Others will represent evolutions in your policies and best practices.…

The post 3 Ways to Make the Conversion Back to the Workspace Easier appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.



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How to Use Account Mapping to Build an Effective ABM Campaign

Account-based marketing (ABM) is transforming the B2B marketing and sales world because of its effectiveness in reaching high-value target accounts — but it's a difficult strategy to manage.

ABM has a lot of moving parts that need to move as a synchronized whole to bring success to your organization.

Fortunately, like any aspect of marketing, ABM is made easier with strategic planning.

Starting with your goals and mapping out a targeted plan is key to building an effective ABM campaign.

Here, we'll break down the steps of how to put ABM mapping into practice within your organization and implement the right process to make it happen.

What is Account Mapping?

Account mapping involves selecting and organizing the accounts targeted within an ABM program.

After establishing goals, the next and arguably most critical step to ensuring a successful ABM campaign is selecting and mapping the accounts.

Once accounts have been selected and mapped, the sales and marketing team can build their engagement strategy and ensure both sides maximize their alignment.

How to Get Started With Account Mapping

Account mapping is an exercise in account research and documenting details that will be useful as you target an account on your journey to a successful close.

Here are the four main steps you'll need to take when account mapping:

1. Identify Key Decision Makers and Influencers

After identifying what accounts to target through account planning, the next step is digging into the account to understand the organizational structure and how decisions are made. Starting with the top person in a functional area is an excellent place to begin mapping the functions.

The larger the account, the tougher this task, as many large organizations operate in a matrix environment where influence comes from many directions.

Nonetheless, sourcing these contacts and documenting their Buyer Role using HubSpot or alternative system of record will allow you to track and manage information related to each contact. This will also improve your ability to create unique experiences as a part of your ABM program.

It's essential to consider buyer roles as it relates to the buying process, not a functional title.

Buyer roles to be considered include:

  • Decision Maker
  • Blocker
  • Influencer
  • Budget Holder
  • Champion
  • Legal & Compliance

Depending on the goods/service sold and the operational impact it may have in the account, there may be a need to expand the roles to meet the specific needs of the account, so you can edit or add new roles as needed.

Using tools such as LinkedIn or ZoomInfo can be helpful when researching an account and the key contacts within the account. Using the Buying Role Property within HubSpot is a great way to align your account intelligence to the contacts within the account.

During your research, you may find that one contact has multiple roles, so you can assign them accordingly as well as assign multiple contacts to the same role.

2. Gather Intel and Align Content

Understanding an account's needs and pain points is an important input to your ABM engagement strategy. Whether it's for content alignment or sales outreach, align relevant communications to each stage of the buyer's journey.

While getting direct intelligence through discovery calls is an excellent way to explore account needs, you should use a wide range of sources to gather as much information as possible to fill any gaps.

Social listening, search intent, press releases, and Google Alerts are all great resources to leverage for information that can be used to gain insights into future account needs. Once well-documented, these insights can be used to map marketing content and sales playbooks to ensure each interaction with the account is meaningful.

3. Engage and Learn

Develop a plan for how and when you will engage the target account. Using a playbook for both sales and marketing engagement plans can help standardize the approach you take and identify points within the process that are working well or areas that need improvements.

Depending on where the account is within the sales cycle when you implement the ABM strategy, the engagement approach may vary. Targeting with account-based advertising may be an excellent first step to warm up the accounts if starting with cold accounts.

Many platforms can enable ABM advertising; however, using HubSpot's Company List and its LinkedIn Ads integration provides a seamless introduction into account-based advertising without leaving HubSpot.

4. Document How Decisions are Made

Throughout the research and documentation process, you've been collecting data that will be useful for both marketing and sales teams. As you seek to advance the engagement process, direct outreach to contacts within the account will be required. Be sure to add value and use best practices to improve the quality of this interaction so that it's a seamless and valuable experience for the prospect.

You have been gathering account intelligence through the planning process, so now it's time to put those activities to work. Before reaching out, utilize LinkedIn or LinkedIn Sales Navigator to research the contact. Using the outreach activities to fill data and intelligence gaps will help improve future interactions and engagements.

Of the things you need to learn, understanding who will influence the purchasing decision is high on the list. It's also helpful to know how the company makes a purchasing decision and their process of awarding a contract. Ensure that you're gathering these details effectively by recording information in your CRM under the deal, company, and contact records.

Account Mapping Software

There is a long list of software applications that can assist with the account mapping process. The good news is that a lot can be done with free tools, many of which are commonly used within both small and large sales and marketing organizations.

Below is a short list of free and premium tools, along with a brief description that will get you started with ABM Mapping.

1. HubSpot

HubSpot is the centralized marketing platform that helps sales and marketing leaders execute marketing campaigns. HubSpot provides a set of tools that helps keep an ABM-centric campaign, which enables greater transparency between sales and marketing teams when compared to disparate systems.

Cost: Freemium to Paid

2. LinkedIn

The king of professional networking within a digital environment has become a dream tool for sales and marketing professionals. When targeting specific accounts, LinkedIn is a great free resource. In addition to general account research, LinkedIn also is a great integration partner for three of their paid services, which can be invaluable to ABM.

  • LinkedIn Ads
  • Sales Navigator
  • LinkedIn InMail

Cost: Varies depending on tools/service used. 

3. ZoomInfo

From prospecting to buyer intent, ZoomInfo is an excellent resource for finding and tracking companies that fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). In addition to identifying the account, they provide a comprehensive set of products that offer deeper account insights, including organizational charts. ZoomInfo is also a HubSpot integration partner, which makes working with the tool seamless.

Cost: Free Trial to Premium

4. 6sense

If you are seeking to take action on Buyer Intent, 6sense provides solutions that improve the transparency into the buyer's intent using AI. It captures signals across a wide variety of channels and connects it to prospect accounts. 

When moving into the engagement stage of an ABM campaign, these tools provide the ultimate reach and scale.

Cost: Paid (Contact 6sense for pricing details)

ABM mapping can be an effective process to help sales and marketing teams navigate complex account structures. While there are great tools that provide helpful insights, the mapping process is robust and tends to be manual.

An important part of the planning process will be to gain buy in from your internal team and properly assign team members who will be part of the research and documentation process so that your organization will have access to centralized information about your target accounts and contacts within them.

The payoff can be well worth the work if you take the proper steps while developing a focused account-based marketing strategy.



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Are You Really Being Honest With Yourself About Business? (CARTOON)

business honesty cartoon

This article, "Are You Really Being Honest With Yourself About Business? (CARTOON)" was first published on Small Business Trends



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