Pandemic-driven Trends, Expectations Here To Stay

Digitally-enabled experiences, health and wellness protocols, and the rise of socially- and locally-conscious consumers will affect small businesses' playbook for success in the next year, says a poll by RBC. It says the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for many new business practices and priorities and it also accelerated the need for small business owners to adapt to other trends that were steadily on the rise over the last several years. These trends include a growing demand for digital payment and engagement options. eCommerce and digital solutions were already on the rise pre-pandemic, but they became pandemic necessities as businesses adapted to health and safety measures. Now, two-thirds (64 per cent) of Canadians say partnering with digital platforms to make products and services more accessible will be important post-pandemic. Meanwhile, four-in-five Canadians say that they would like to continue to shop online at small businesses, even after the economy is fully reopened, and 72 per cent say that increased social media presence helps them become more aware of what small and local businesses have to offer. The poll also says that Canadians value small businesses that prioritize employee wellness and overall health and safety. Eighty-seven per cent of Canadians say providing more wellness and mental health benefits and resources to employees will be important going forward.