Some Big Numbers for Small Businesses to Embrace in 2018
The start of a new year means it is time for resolutions, and not just vows to lose weight or exercise more. With business and technology changing so rapidly, your company needs to be in perpetual resolution mode. Here are a few numbers to help focus your efforts for 2018.
SALESFORCE’S EINSTEIN MAKES 475 MILLION PREDICTIONS DAILY.
We all know that artificial intelligence (AI) has been one of the most talked about technologies over the past 12 to 18 months. In many ways, it felt like it was precisely that: talk. But during Marc Benioff’s keynote at Salesforce’s Dreamforce event in November, a stat on one of his slides totally jumped out at me: Every day, Einstein, Salesforce’s AI technology, makes 475 million predictions across all its clouds.
To me that number is astounding. Einstein was announced just a little over a year ago, and now it’s spitting out predictions like crazy. And that’s just from one vendor with 150,000 customers. With all major CRM vendors having AI initiatives now, probably more than a billion predictions are being generated per day to help companies improve customer interactions. And it’s still early, so now’s the time to see how you can leverage one of these platforms to more efficiently and effectively engage customers and prospects.
IN 2017, 330 MILLION PEOPLE CONNECTED WITH A SMALL BUSINESS ON MESSENGER FOR THE FIRST TIME
This number comes from a survey Facebook commissioned toward the end of 2017, and it indicates that people are quickly transferring their comfort level with Messenger for talking with friends and family to interacting with companies. According to Linda Lee, a member of Facebook’s Strategic Partnerships team for Messenger, “Some of it is around [asking] questions [about] specific services or products where they need more details or specifications. Then it’s also about dealing with customer care issues—perhaps they’ve already bought a product or a service and have a question, or an issue’s come up.”
When you see a number like 330 million people, you have to take notice—and you have to expect the trend to accelerate in 2018.
TWO HUNDRED MILLION INSTAGRAMMERS VISIT AT LEAST ONE BUSINESS PROFILE EACH DAY.
According to a release sent out by Instagram at the end of November, 80 percent of accounts on the platform follow a business, and 200 million Instagrammers visit the profile of a business every day. Perhaps related, the number of businesses on Instagram is now 25 million, up from 15 million in July.
According to the company, one in three small businesses on Instagram say they’ve built their business using the platform; 45 percent say they have increased sales; and 44 percent say the platform helps them sell in additional cities, states, or countries.
With video and images capturing more of our collective attention, sites like Instagram are growing in importance for B2C and B2B companies. Leveraging the wide reach of Instagram is allowing small businesses to interact with customer and prospects in more meaningful ways that are adding up where it counts.
ON CYBER MONDAY, SMALL BUSINESSES SOLD 140 MILLION PRODUCTS ON AMAZON’S PLATFORM.
With Amazon, there are a lot of eye-catching numbers I could list here, like the $1 billion it has lent to small businesses since 2011. But what caught my attention was Cyber Monday 2017. According to a number of reports, the $6.59 billion in transactions that day made it the biggest online sales day ever, and Amazon’s chunk was undoubtedly huge. Cyber Monday was also the biggest sales day ever for small business and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon’s platform, as customers ordered nearly 140 million products from small businesses around the world. Amazon says that the number of mobile shoppers ordering through its app jumped 50 percent. So you’d have to think a healthy number of the products sold by small businesses happened via mobile device.
All of these big numbers point to a massive sea change in customer engagement going forward. Some developments are further along than others, but these numbers illustrate just how quickly the playing field is changing, and how the accelerated adoption of technology is driving all of it. So let these big numbers help shape your business’s New Year’s resolutions.
Brent Leary is cofounder of CRM Essentials, an Atlanta-based advisory firm focused on small and midsize businesses. He is also the author of Barack 2.0: Social Media Lessons for Small Businesses.