23 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know


Predictions for 2020

If you missed our two predictions articles, you can find them here:

  • What’s Next? A Small Business Vision for 2020, part 1
  • What’s Next? A Small Business Vision for 2020, part 2

Also, here’s our slideshow about small business resolutions for 2020.

Plus, numbers 1-7 address some additional predictions that came in after our deadline.


1—Digital Marketing Trends

Marketing technology company Vivial released its 2020 Digital Marketing Trends report, which looks into the next chapter of online, mobile and social marketing. A survey, also released by Vivial, shows that while 41% of small business owners say they do enough marketing to get by, more than a quarter say their lack of knowledge about marketing is hindering their current marketing efforts.

Highlights from the Digital Marketing Trends report include: 

Content Marketing: Nearly a quarter of small business owners struggle with producing engaging content on a consistent basis. In 2020 and beyond, content marketing will continue to play a foundational role in digital marketing so SMBs need to up their content game. Specifically, consumers will be looking for content that goes beyond selling, that is clear and explanatory. With voice and image searches accounting for half of all searches on the internet in 2020, gearing content for voice-activated devices is also a necessity.

Social Media: While 62% of those surveyed say social media marketing has the highest ROI for their business, only 40% of small businesses are running any paid ads on social media. Using a mix of organic AND paid content is key to build followers and fans on social platforms. Hyper-local targeting, user-generated content, videos, smart influencer partnerships and social communities are other ways small businesses can enhance and build out social media marketing strategies.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Multi-platform advertising will be a must in 2020, including variety in both the platforms for advertising (Google, social media, etc.) as well as the type of ads (video, carousel, etc.). In addition, there will be a bigger emphasis for SMBs to understand what searchers are really asking for when they type in specific keyword phrases and then creating landing pages that quickly, yet thoroughly provides them with an answer or solution.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):  As voice-based search is quickly becoming “the next big thing,” it is essential for businesses to have accurate listings, content keywords and search rankings to be found with voice queries.

Mobile Marketing (SMS): 75% of consumers prefer to receive offers via text. To capitalize on this platform, it will be key for businesses to keep messages simple and personal and find ways to differentiate not only products but customer service.

Omni-Channel Approach: Customers expect a seamless experience and businesses have seconds to keep their attention. So, whether they arrive on a landing page or step through the front door to redeem an SMS coupon, the messaging must be consistent and the process fluid.


2—Data Management & Protection 

Douglas Brockett, president, StorageCraft believes businesses will face challenges around data management, protection and recovery in 2020 and beyond. He explains:  

Ransomware meets its nemesis—and it’s called blockchain: While it may take a while for blockchain to be adopted in the financial markets or in other consumer-applications, its real-world use-case as a mechanism to prevent ransomware attacks will gain swift adoption.

The channel gets wary of accidental vendor lock-in: The M&A cycle will continue in the MSP space with MSPs acquiring for scale and vertical expansion. However, as MSPs merge and consolidate, they should pay particular attention to consolidation on the vendor side. As MSPs focus on their OML (operational maturity level), standardization for them only makes sense if it aligns with their business plan. Standardization must be in line with the vision of how they wanted to build their business. In contrast, MSPs may be in for a rude awakening if they find themselves being consolidated into a technology platform—not out of choice but because of vendor consolidation. MSPs will need to be wary of this accidental vendor lock-in and make sure they can opt for best of breed where it makes business sense.  

Converged infrastructure spending pays of—puts legacy vendors on notice: Early adopters of converged data infrastructures will see their investments pay off in terms of economics, scale and agility. This will accelerate the maturing of the converged data infrastructure market—and put a nail in the coffin for the big legacy vendors who have built their business models on having a different product line for everything. Buyers will no longer tolerate paying for solutions from vendors that simply bifurcate their product lines over and over again. We will see the beginning of the end of siloed infrastructure vendors.


3—Franchising Trends

What’s in store for franchising in 2020? My friend Joel Libava, aka, the Franchise King identifies the three big money-making trends that will impact the franchise industry this year. My rule of thumb: if you want to know about franchising, there’s no better person to ask than Joel. Read his expert franchise advice here.


4—Small Business Tech Predictions

Blake Clark, general manager at Software Advice shares his top three small business technology predictions that will have the most impact in 2020.

  1. More than 80% of small businesses will use cloud technology in 2020, allowing them to use business apps similarly to how they stream TV and music.
  2. Small businesses will save a full year in their software search in 2020 by leveraging third-party expertise and user reviews. (Nearly 60% of companies will spend between three months to a year in this selection stage alone in 2020, with at least a few months spent reading online reviews, according to the buyer trend survey)
  3. 2020 is the first year the majority of U.S. small businesses will leverage big data for a significant business impact.

Clark adds, “The need to service a more fluid style of work is driving a wave of powerful, agile, and deeply personalized new business software.” He predicts 2020 is the year small businesses take back control over how they use software while tech providers scramble to cater to new expectations.


5—Small Business Owners Speak Out

The results of a new poll of small business owners from BizBuySell shows what’s top of their minds for 2020:

Top 3 concerns (all small businesses)

  1. Potential Economic Recession – 31%
  2. Rising Minimum Wage – 19%
  3. Presidential Election Results – 18%

Top 3 concerns (manufacturing businesses)

  1. Potential Economic Recession – 29%
  2. Rising Minimum Wage – 6%
  3. Presidential Election Results – 26%

Top 3 concerns (retail businesses)

  1. Potential Economic Recession – 30%
  2. Rising Minimum Wage – 21%
  3. Presidential Election Results – 17%

Top 3 concerns (restaurants)

  1. Potential Economic Recession – 27%
  2. Rising Minimum Wage – 46%
  3. Presidential Election Results – 8%

Top 3 concerns (service businesses)

  1. Potential Economic Recession – 34%
  2. Rising Minimum Wage – 16%
  3. Presidential Election Results – 16%

How concerned or unconcerned are you about an economic recession in 2020?

  • Very Concerned – 19%
  • Concerned – 29%
  • Slightly Concerned – 32%
  • Not Concerned – 20%

How do you expect the small business economy to perform in 2020?

  • Improve- 34%
  • Decline- 15%
  • No change- 28%
  • Unsure -23%

Small Business Security

Has your business ever been a victim of a cyber-attack, such as computer viruses, data breaches, and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks?

  • Yes- 21%
  • No- 79%

Do you consider your business a target for cyber-attacks?

  • Yes- 23%
  • No- 77%

Small Business Planning

How much exit planning have you completed for your business?

  • Significant – 13%
  • Some – 34%
  • Little – 26%
  • None – 25%

How long do you think it would take to get your business ready for sale?

  • Under 3 months – 45%
  • 3-6 months – 22%
  • 7-11 months – 9%
  • 1-2 years – 13%
  • 3-5 years – 4%
  • 5+ years – 5%

Do you know how much your business is worth?

  • Yes, I know the exact market value – 17%
  • Yes, I have a fairly accurate estimate – 36%
  • Yes, I have a rough estimate – 29%
  • No, I do not know – 18%

What have you done to value your business?

  • Professional Appraisal – 22%
  • Comparable Business Sales – 39%
  • Multiples of cashflow/SDE/EBITDA – 40%
  • My Own Analysis – 57%
  • Other – 6%


6—Employee Engagement

With 51% of employees unengaged, what’s top of mind for HR and business leaders? Executives across industries are all thinking about the same thing: how to prepare for the future of work and foster an environment rooted in engagement to drive success.

Employee engagement software company Achievers just published a new report on 2020 HR trends and what top companies are focusing on. Here are the top priorities:

  • Leveraging data to drive cultural change: Data leads to a better dialogue, but only 16% of HR leaders are prepared for a highly digital environment.
  • Creating connection: Remote work is becoming increasingly popular and companies are more widely distributed. Leaders are thinking about how to keep employees connected to one another, but also the organization’s central mission.
  • Driving genuine engagement: Engagement is being discussed in board rooms, but employers are still struggling to create a workplace where employees feel their work is meaningful, which is why they’re looking for ways to create pride in the workplace and treating their employees like customers.

Learn more here.


7—Expanding Demographics & More

Phil Lubell, vice president, SOHO/consumer product and brand marketing at Brother International Corporation says keep your eyes on these top three small business predictions:

The demographics of entrepreneurs will expand

A recent survey from Guidant Financial and Lending Club found that 35% of small business owners were 50-59 years old. While it may seem that younger generations will be breaking through as entrepreneurs, as we head into 2020 and beyond, we will see a more diverse set of entrepreneurs and small business owners across all age ranges.

Mobile communication and work will be the norm

Small businesses owners have many different responsibilities and will constantly be on the go. As a result, technologies that help them stay productive will continue to become more mobile-friendly, whether that be internal collaboration apps, the ability to print documents quickly from your phone and more.

The gig economy will continue to expand even more quickly

Coupled with remote working, gig work is becoming increasingly popular as well with people seeking increased workplace flexibility. Small business owners can benefit from this to help hire specialized people to fit their needs.


8—3 Ways Small Businesses can use Automation to Deliver a Better Customer Experience

Guest post by Clate Mask, CEO & cofounder, Keap

It’s no secret that marketing automation can be a business owner’s best ally, making operations run more smoothly and saving you lots of time. But you and your business are not the only ones that automation positively impacts; in fact, using automation in the right ways can significantly elevate your customer service and customer experience.

Here are a few of the main reasons why.

1—It increases responsiveness. We conducted a survey of consumers recently and heard back loud and clear that they expect a response from a business quickly. The problem is that many small businesses have limited resources and aren’t able to respond swiftly to every customer inquiry that comes their way. If they take their time and respond back when they get a free moment in their schedule, the customer may be pretty unhappy (if they haven’t already moved on to a different provider).

Instead, you can use automation to meet consumers’ need for instant gratification while not overloading your team. Set up an automated email that goes out as soon as a prospective customer submits an inquiry request through your website. Take it a step further and offer scheduling through your website. This will allow the customer to take control of next steps. And they also won’t feel like you’ve left them hanging if you’re not able to personally call them in a timely manner.

2—It improves personalization: When you use automation, you have a system in which you can store the history of your customer relationships. Having records of your conversations, service dates and other details in one place allows you to more quickly personalize your communications with your clients.

It helps them to feel like you remember their specific situation and are giving them a true personal touch. But by using tools like merge fields and automated follow-up sequences, you might not even have to lift a finger to provide this level of personalized attention and customer service.

3—It centralizes information: When you use automation, your customer will feel a seamless experience from start to finish. Instead of sending emails manually back and forth to figure out scheduling or discuss a quote, you can automate it. The scheduling process, and quote acceptance process, become significantly easier for you – and your customers – through automation.

Also, using a system that presents this information in real-time ensures you and your clients are always looking at the same version of a quote and working off of the most recent, updated information. This can reduce miscommunication and uncomfortable misunderstandings.

As a business owner, you have a lot to gain by automating the management of your customer processes, as well as your communications. But even more so, your customers can enjoy a smoother and more pleasant experience from start to finish. And this pays off, especially when it comes time to ask for referrals. Everyone wins when you turn to automation to improve your business’ personal touch and grow your business.


9—Amid Global Complexity, Businesses Continue to Bet on Themselves

Most small and midsize U.S. business leaders expect continued growth for their companies this year amid a less robust economic environment, according to the just-released annual JPMorgan Chase Business Leaders Outlook survey. Most businesses—76% of midsize companies and 74% of small ones—are optimistic about their own performances, and the majority expect to grow sales this year (70% of midsize companies and 62% of small ones). They’re leaning into this expected growth through measures including more widespread adoption of new technology and increased hiring.

The national and global business outlooks are more cautious, with midsize companies in particular reporting a drop in optimism from 2019. While more than half of midsize (59%) and small (52%) businesses remain optimistic about the national economy, this marks a decline of 14 and 3 points from a year ago, respectively. Optimism about the global economy is also down for midsize companies, which are more likely to have exposure to international markets: 24% are optimistic compared to 39% in 2019. Among small businesses, global optimism is steady at 40% compared to 38% in 2019.

“Businesses are becoming used to a new normal as the pace of economic expansion naturally settles down,” says Jim Glassman, senior economist at JPMorgan Chase. “But it’s important to note that slowing economic growth isn’t a sign of weakness, and many of the concerns business leaders have point toward an economy that’s running at its full potential.”

Leaning into Disruption: When it comes to preparing for disruption, even more business leaders are mobilizing to make changes now compared to 2019: 89% of midsize companies and 61% of small ones report taking actions including purchasing cyber insurance, creating contingency plans and designating individuals and teams to identify threats and opportunities. Businesses are also embracing emerging technologies to increase efficiencies and reach customers more directly.

  • For midsize businesses, cloud computing is expected to be the most widely deployed technology for 2020, with 73% planning to use it, followed by data-driven targeted marketing (50%) and application programming interfaces (APIs) at 46%.
  • Small businesses are increasingly feeling the impacts of e-commerce disruption, but 57% feel confident in their ability to manage this challenge.

“In an era of rapid technological change, businesses are demonstrating their resiliency and taking steps to future-proof their companies,” said John Simmons, head of Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries at JPMorgan Chase. “Harnessing new tools and technologies and remaining agile will help accelerate growth in today’s competitive environment.”

Hiring from a Shrinking Talent Pool: Businesses want to hire to prepare for an expected uptick in sales, but a limited supply of qualified candidates is making it increasingly difficult to do so.

  • For the second consecutive year, midsize businesses rank this as the #1 challenge, constrained by a lack of applicants and unique skills needed for the job. This is a reality for small businesses as well: 31% report that they are extremely or very concerned about the candidate supply, up from 28% last year.
  • Still, businesses are forging ahead: 55% of midsize businesses and 39% of small ones expect to increase full-time employees over the next year. Small businesses also expect a jump in part-time employment, with 38% planning to hire, up 7%age points from 2019.
  • To retain talent, businesses plan to increase compensation, improve benefits and provide flexible hours.

Setting Sights on Business Abroad: Despite geopolitical and trade-related concerns, midsize businesses remain heavily invested overseas and are continuing to expand into new international markets at earlier stages in their lifecycles. Nearly half (47%) of midsize businesses have sales outside the U.S., with an additional 14% planning to establish international sales or operations in the next three years.

Unexpected Growth is Common: Many small businesses (69%) report having experienced unexpected growth and of these companies, 91% have gone through it more than once. While small business leaders feel largely positive about the growth, they acknowledge having to work longer hours and purchase more supplies and inventory as a result.

“Unexpected growth is a good problem to have but it can be stressful for small business owners,” says Business Banking CEO Jen Roberts. “They have to reassess their short and long-term strategies, which could mean managing their cash flow more efficiently, incentivizing staff, or investing in technology to help them scale.”

Planning For the New Decade: Businesses should get comfortable with today’s complex operating environment, and keep the following considerations in mind as they plan for the year ahead:

  • Don’t be fazed by the U.S. economy’s new normal.The durability of today’s expansion is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Rather than compare to business cycles of the past, look instead to key metrics like unemployment and inflation to get a fuller picture of the economy’s health. With strong fundamentals and no clear recessionary trigger, it seems likely the expansion could continue at a slower pace for a sustained period. Learn more.
  • Embrace technological change head-on.The most successful businesses are using technology to stay ahead of the competition, drive efficiency and build a seamless customer experience. Evaluate the latest tools to make sure your business isn’t left behind. Learn more.
  • Educate staff on cybersecurityWith the pace of cyberattacks rapidly accelerating, 2020 is the year to make cybersecurity a priority. Defenses are only as strong as your least-prepared employee, so investing in training and controls can help protect against the threat of sophisticated attacks.Learn more.
  • Make your values central to your business.In a tight labor market, defining and investing in your company’s environmental, social and governance priorities can be a differentiator in employee recruitment and retention. Learn more.
  • Take advantage of global expansion.Despite geopolitical complexities, international business opportunities are too significant to ignore—and the ease of technology and travel make them more accessible than ever for companies. Evaluate global markets and supply chains carefully to determine how to best tap into new markets. Learn more.

For more information on the Business Leaders Outlook, check out the midsize and small business reports.


10—Online Returns Impact Customer Experience

A good return policy is not only key to overall customer experience, but directly affects web conversion and, ultimately, a retailer’s bottom line, according to a recent survey by leading monthly installment payment solution Splitit. The Splitit survey shows that a good return policy is not only key to overall customer experience, but directly affects web conversion and, ultimately, a retailer’s bottom line.

Online return rates are expected to dramatically increase as gifts are returned or exchanged this month. This generally peaks on January 2nd with roughly 1.9 million returns projected on what UPS has dubbed “National Returns Day.”

According to the survey, nearly 60% of consumers have returned an online purchase, with 38% having returned up to 10% of all online purchases they have made, 12% have returned a purchase within the past month, 11% within the last six months, and 18% within the last year. Splitit also discovered that 48% of respondents have purchased multiple variations of an item with the intention of returning one or more items, the process known as “bracketing.”

More important for merchants, the survey shows a retailer’s return policy weighs heavily on web conversion, with returns top of mind for consumers when deciding whether to make a purchase. Most (52% ) consumers have abandoned an online purchase out of fear of a difficult return process. This number increases to 67% for millennials, highlighting the heightened importance of a smooth return process for those who grew up accustomed to online shopping. And with 10% of consumers dissatisfied in some way with their last return experience, the survey results serve as a warning to retailers that returns are high stakes—with customer experience and overall sales at risk.

“Whether it’s a fear of buyer’s remorse or uncertainty about fit, our research shows that, today, returns are a top consideration for consumers even before their purchase is completed,” says Brad Paterson, CEO of Splitit. “More than ever, we are seeing the importance of an easy return process to give consumers peace of mind and increase revenue, as returns are determining purchases long before a customer reaches checkout.”

“By combining a simple and transparent return policy with flexible payments options like installment payments or buy now, pay later solutions, retailers are able to give consumers the confidence and the time to make the right purchase without creating a burden on their finances.”

According to the survey, here’s what consumers look for in a return policy:

  • 20%say a return shipping fee would make them less likely to purchase from a given retailer.
  • 39% rank “free shipping” as the overall most important feature of a good return policy.
  • 30% say “no questions asked” is the most important feature of a good return policy.



11—Merchants Trying to Balance Frictionless Checkout with Increased Payments Security

Many U.S. merchants (69%) say they’re spending significant amounts of company time and expense dealing with payment fraud, according to the recently-released 2019 Digital Payments Survey from American Express. And 77% their companies experienced some type of fraud, and their efforts to manage security are impacting their businesses’ bottom lines.

At the same time, the survey found customer expectations for ease and convenience during checkout are increasing, both in-store and online. Therefore, merchants must find ways to balance security with a seamless customer experience.

The survey, which examines the evolving landscape of online and in-store payments in the U.S., highlights the need for payment technologies that can meet both merchant and consumer expectations. Technologies like EMV® contactless payments and EMV® Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) are identified as capabilities that can help solve these pain points and improve both the customer experience and business operations.

Fraud is on the rise: U.S. merchants surveyed estimate an average of 27% of their annual online sales to be fraudulent transactions, a significant increase from 18% in 2018. And compared to last year, significantly more merchants agree that their business is vulnerable to payment fraud across multiple channels, including mobile transactions (82%, up from 73% in 2018), their website (79%, up from 74% in 2018), and point-of-sale payments (66%, up from 55% in 2018).

Of the consumers surveyed, 42%  have experienced a fraudulent attempt to use their credit card or other payment information, and over half (59%) say they are worried about having their payment account or credit card information compromised when making an online purchase.

As a result, many merchants are investing more in payment data security, with survey respondents reporting that they spent an average of 33% of their IT budget this year on payment data security, up from 27% last year.

Consumers expect fast, simple and secure checkout options: While merchants look to enhance payment security, consumers have a desire to speed up the checkout experience, putting ease and security of checkout at a crossroads. Consumers have come to expect a fast and seamless checkout experience across all payment channels, meaning that wait time and ease of the payment experience have the potential to impact a sale. For example, 62% of customers surveyed say they’ve left a store without making a purchase after waiting too long in line to pay, while 85% have left items in their cart and not completed the online transaction.

When it comes to digital payments, 55% of merchant respondents currently store customer profiles and card payment information for future purchases, with an additional 22% planning to do so in the next 12 months. Yet 76% would prefer not to hold onto this data, in order to alleviate costs and security concerns. The arrival of SRC establishes a simplified way for customers to click to pay across web and mobile sites, mobile apps, and connected devices, eliminating the need for merchants to store sensitive payment information. The SRC capability is starting to roll out with select U.S. merchants, with wider expansion planned for 2020.  It will address an important need, since 80% of U.S. merchants in the survey say they’d benefit from a technology that reduces the need to store customer payment data, and the same% (79%) agree that their online checkout experience needs to be simplified for customers.

In addition to online checkout, consumers also expect a seamless checkout experience in-store, and more than eight-in-ten merchants surveyed agree that contactless provides a faster checkout option for in-person payments (83%) and is more convenient for customers than paying with card or cash (84%). Contactless is an emerging favorite as a consumer payment option as well—26% of consumers have used contactless at least once within the past six months, a figure that is likely to increase as more contactless cards are issued in 2020 and as a growing number of merchants in the U.S. accept contactless payments. And contactless not only addresses the need for convenience, but also for security, since contactless cards contain the same security features as chip payments—where payment information is encrypted, and the purchase details are routed for added security.

The majority of merchants responding to the survey are interested in the benefits of other innovative payment security solutions like biometrics, tokenization, and more. They overwhelmingly agree that requiring a one-time password for additional security to complete a purchase (77%), biometrics (76%), and tokenization (70%) are effective in preventing fraud.


12—Most Professional Event Speakers Are Male 

Bizzabo, a leading global event success platform, recently released its annual Gender Diversity & Inclusion in Events Report, analyzing the gender diversity of more than 60,000 event speakers over a seven-year period (2013-2019). The study spanned 58 countries across five continents, 45 industries and thousands of the world’s largest professional events.

“Forward thinking business leaders, and marketers intuitively know that gender balance is important to the overall success of an event,” says Eran Ben-Shushan, CEO and cofounder of Bizzabo. “We’re releasing this data to help more leaders and organizations realize that the gender gap is still large, and unfortunately, closing all too slowly.”

Almost Two-Thirds of All Event Speakers are Male: According to Bizzabo’s global analysis, on average 66% of all speakers between 2013 and 2019 were male, while just 33% were female. This is 3% better than last year’s analysis, which showed 69% of speakers to be male, and only 31% to be female.

“This year’s analysis has shown progress, when compared to last year’s study but, unfortunately, not enough,” says Alon Alroy, cofounder of Bizzabo. “The narrow…shows we still have a long way to go before there is greater gender balance within events.”

Country Comparison: The analysis shows when comparing the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Canada tied for most diverse, with 64% male versus 36% female, respectively. In the UK, 69% of all speakers were male, while 31% were female, making it the least diverse of the three.

Of the 55 other countries studied, 19 came in last with almost zero% of speakers being female. Those 19 countries included: Turkey, Czech Republic, South Korea, Philippines, Cote D’Ivoire, Macau, Norway, Malta, Qatar, Indonesia, Poland, Bahamas, Austria, Malaysia, Finland, Uruguay, Peru and Slovakia.

The deep dive also found that the country with the highest number of female speakers was Kenya, at 40% versus 60%. Right behind Kenya was Mexico (38% female), followed by both the U.S. and Canada, which tied for third place at 36% female.

Education Leads the Charge with Ideal Gender Diversity While Tech Remains Low: Events for Information Technology & Services proved to have a long way to go before achieving greater gender balance, with 76% male versus 24% female. Computer Software events were slightly more diverse with 68% male and 32% female. Technology events were found to be 63% male and 37% female, and Internet events were revealed to be 60% male versus 40% female.

In comparison, Education Management was found to have a 50/50 split (50% female / 50% male), showing ideal gender diversity. And, Higher Education wasn’t far behind with 40% female versus 60% male.

Events for Job Search and Info Sessions Found to be Most Diverse Event Type: In analyzing gender distribution across speakers by event type, Bizzabo’s study found Job Search & Info Sessions (69% female versus 31% male) and Fundraisers & Galas (58% female versus 42% male) to be the most diverse. It also discovered that Summits (85% male versus 15% female) and Conferences & Conventions (66% male versus 34% female) to be the least diverse.

Ben-Shushan sums it up, “Fixing the problem requires a conscious effort on the part of conference organizers to look outside their immediate networks and to set goals, like aiming for 50/50 representation.”


13—Sensory Experiences Increase In-Store Sales by 10%

Sensory marketing has positive emotional, cognitive and behavioral impacts on shoppers in-store, according to the newly released study, Quantifying the Impact of Sensory Marketing, from Mood Media and its international sports retailer client, INTERSPORT. The controlled experiment found when sensory marketing was applied, sales increased by 10%. Also noteworthy—shoppers spent almost six minutes longer in-store when their senses were activated.

“Knowing that 78% of shoppers say an enjoyable atmosphere plays a key factor in purchasing a product in-store versus online, we partnered with Walnut Unlimited to develop unique behavioral and neuromarketing quantitative research that demonstrates how shoppers react first-hand to specific sensory experiences,” says Scott Moore, Global CMO of Mood Media. “The results speak for themselves. A strategic top-level approach to incorporating in-store sensorial elements creates a measurable emotional response with consumers that delivers bottom-line results.”

Additional key findings showcasing the positive impact of in-store sensorial stimuli include:

  • Shoppers purchased more items (increase of 4%)—and higher priced items (increase of 6% in value)—when sensorial marketing elements were in place.
  • The use of scent is even more impactful when used to highlight a specific department or zone. In the scented football zone, customers’ emotional levels were elevated by 28% compared to the baseline.
  • From the installation of scent in the football area to-date, INTERSPORT noticed a 26% increase in sales in the category in the test store compared to the same category performance in all other stores.
  • Based on Eye Tracking (ET) metrics, awareness of digital screens in-store increased by 5% when moving visualizations were activated on-screen (vs. static images).
  • Based on Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) metrics, a lack of sensorial elements in-store caused many consumers to become awkwardly self-aware while shopping, with 17% becoming more emotionally sensitive and uncomfortable in an unusually quiet and stimulant-free environment.
  • Consumers like seeing themselves, which the study describes as “the science of narcissism.” Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) and Eye Tracking (ET) metrics showed a significant increase in nervous system activity and engagement when consumers saw themselves in mirrors and interacted with products in front of mirrors.
  • Shoppers showed a 50% emotional increase when touching and engaging with a product. This supports first-hand the important and unique role that in-store shopping continues to serve.


14—The Best States To Launch a Startup

The team at Comparisun conducted an analysis of business survival rates, business application growth, rate of new entrepreneurs, tax rates, education, labor costs and the cost of living to reveal the best states to launch a startup. Here’s the top 10:

  1. Texas
  2. Florida
  3. Ohio
  4. Colorado
  5. Arizona
  6. Utah
  7. California
  8. North Carolina
  9. Georgia
  10. Oklahoma

Rhode Island is ranked last.

Click here to see the full list of the 50 US states and where they rank.



Cool Tools

15—Empowering Better Meetings

Owl Labs, the leader in immersive video conferencing technology, recently launched  the Meeting Owl Pro, which offers a higher fidelity experience and enables any room to become a Smart Meeting Room that will reinvent how distributed teammates collaborate in meeting rooms and huddle spaces moving forward.

The Meeting Owl and Meeting Owl Pro are the only 360° camera, mic, speaker smart devices in-market today. Powered by Owl Labs’ proprietary Owl Intelligence System™, these smart devices improve human-to-human interaction by giving teams and remote participants an experience that feels like sitting in the same room.

The Meeting Owl Pro improves on its core experience with a 2X sharper camera with 1080p resolution and 2X louder 360° in-room speaker for conference tables up to 18 feet. Its enhanced Owl Intelligence System™ and processing power allows Owl Labs to introduce its new Smart Meeting Room ecosystem.

The Meeting Owl product line is driven by Owl Labs’ proprietary Owl Intelligence System™. While sitting in the center of the table, it uses vision and voice recognition to automatically shift the camera to focus on whoever is speaking. This creates a fully immersive experience for those who can’t be on site. Both products are compatible with all popular video conferencing platforms (i.e. Zoom, Google Meet, Skype for Business, etc.) and accessible to nearly all businesses at a sub $1,000 price point.

The Meeting Owl Pro is available for purchase today at $999 for delivery in the United States. Order online at OwlLabs  or on Amazon.

Quick Clicks

16—Retail Sales. There’s a lot of interesting & useful information in this U.S. Retail Sales Report from become.

17—Smart Locks. How to choose the best smart locks, courtesy of Dave from at Red Rocks Locksmith.

18—e-Commerce Startup. Getting started in e-commerce. A report from Avasam.

19—Best Business Ideas. Looking for new business ideas? Take a look at these 86 ideas from Finimpact.

20—Are You Seeking Better Work/Life Balance? Check out the best global cities for “well-being”.

21—Do You Manage a Virtual Team? Here are 25 tips to help you get the most out of your team from Time Doctor.

22—Investing in Startups. AOL founder Steve Case is investing in entrepreneurs across the country. Check out the article in Forbes to learn more.

23—Secure Your Home Network. Your guide to securing your home network from TheBestVPN.

Business stock photo by seyomedo/Shutterstock