This time of year, business owners often express thanks to the customers and employees who make it possible for them to run their companies. That’s not all they have to be appreciative of, however. Here are three more things that business owners can be thankful for as 2014 comes to an end.
1. Rising E-Commerce Sales
In 2014, e-commerce sales continued to increase over retail sales. A report released by the Department of Commerce estimated that third quarter U.S. retail e-commerce sales increased 4.0% over quarter two, compared to a 0.9% increase in retail sales.
The continued success and growth of e-commerce provides a new avenue for existing retailers to reach customers, as well as offering ample opportunities for new e-commerce entrepreneurs.
2. Security Breaches
2014 was the year of the massive security breach. Well known retailers and restaurants like PF Changs, Michaels, Neiman Marcus, The Home Depot, and Target Corporation reported security breaches and hacks. Why is this something to be thankful for? While a security breach is a horrible event, it gives businesses the opportunity to look at their existing systems, and overhaul and improve weak areas to better protect customers in the future.
Large-scale security breaches have led the way for innovative new technologies to better protect customers and consumers. Apple Pay is a new app and revolutionary new pay method that utilizes fingerprint security on the phone itself, and uses Device Account Numbers instead of credit card or debit card numbers. Even more innovative and secure alternate payment methods are sure to follow, thanks to 2014 spotlighting weakness in our current systems.
3. Social Media
As many as 90% of U.S. small business are using social media to connect with new and existing customers. Social media allows for a unique interaction between business and consumer that has never before been available, often at a fraction of the price of traditional marketing methods.
Business owners who use social media effectively are seeing increased awareness and more favorable perception of their products, services, and organization, plus increased business overall.
As the last quarter ramps up and 2014 nears its end, increased e-commerce sales, opportunities to better protect consumers, and a unique way to reach out to new customers are things that a business owner can be thankful for.
What is your business thankful for this year?