Last year I observed something about small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that got me thinking. Consumers communicate with each other differently than they do with SMBs. They text, FaceTime, and direct message via Instagram, Twitter, and many others all day long. Yet they call, email, or physically visit SMBs. Thinking this was a problem, I did some research. What I learned was that it wasn’t a problem. Customers weren’t asking for different communication methods and SMBs were growing, so they didn’t need to change. In hindsight, it might have been a timing thing. I might have been too early.
The world is different now. Consumers are hesitant to visit physical locations. They’re stuck at home trying to work, watch their kids, and do a host of other things. They’re adapting to a different way of living and searching for new ways to safely satisfy their needs and desires. This changing landscape has caused many SMBs to lose customers. They’re trying to offer the same products and services they always have in ways consumers are comfortable with, but they’re struggling to connect with consumers in this new world. SMBs are facing serious challenges and a massive shift in consumer behavior.
I see an opportunity in the midst of this turmoil. What about a platform through which an SMB and its customers could communicate in ways that resonate more with consumers now? Convenient, effective communication would attract customers. What if you could text the grocery store a picture of the orange juice you want to add to your delivery order? What if you could receive a 10-second video from the UPS driver showing where he put your package? What if you could talk to Alexa or Siri to place a dinner order for delivery?
I’m not sure how difficult it would be to build this platform or how it would work. But I think there’s an opportunity to improve how SMBs communicate with customers. Wouldn’t it be nice to rebuild the connection that’s been taken away?