Small Business Shifts To Digital

Small business owners shifted their communication with customers from in-person to digital channels as a result of COVID-19 and the trend toward digital is projected to continue, says a report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). In fact, half of business owners (51 per cent) predict they will rely on digital communications a lot more in the coming year. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 41 per cent of small businesses reduced in-person communication with their customers and six per cent stopped meeting with their customers entirely. Video conferencing is the top communication platform adopted by businesses during the pandemic (15 per cent) and 46 per cent report they increased their use of eMail. The report also found customer-specific differences in the types of communication channels businesses pivoted toward: businesses that sell to other businesses (B2B) saw the biggest rates of adoption or increased use of video-conferencing and app-based messaging, while businesses that sell to consumers (B2C) are more likely to have turned to social media platforms, like Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct. However, the new communication methods pose new challenges with 46 per cent of business owners overwhelmed by having to keep track of too many digital communication channels and 38 per cent forget to check for messages on digital platforms.