Written by Ian Worang
 

To mark Small Business Week, BDC released a report that explores six trends impacting small and medium sized businesses in 2017.

One of these trends is a direct reflection of a hyper-connected business landscape: the growth of virtual marketplaces.

More and more Canadians are doing their commerce online, using their smartphones for retail transactions, and feeling empowered by the digital technology in their pockets. BDC forecasts that by 2020, over 25 million users in Canada will be using e-commerce (compared to 18 million in 2016), which means e-commerce capability will become even more crucial for small businesses.

With more information, online reviews, and borderless buying available to consumers than ever before, businesses need to adapt to the rise of virtual marketplaces.

One way small businesses can remain competitive is by building a digital ecosystem. This means personalizing your company’s online presence, making your website mobile friendly, and integrating e-commerce capabilities with your social media platforms.

Successful social media engagement is not about aggressive marketing, but about the power of suggestion and the “soft sell.” Become aware of what’s being said about your company in the digital space, and then engage with your customers regularly.

You can also raise awareness of your services or products through Facebook ads or Google AdWords.

Remember that a crucial part of building a virtual marketplace is listening to your customers and responding to their feedback—whether face-to-face or via 140 characters, you need to hear what the consumer is saying.

For more information on what the rapid growth of virtual marketplaces means for your business, read the full report here.

StartUp HERE Toronto is a publishing partner of techPORTFOLIO and this article was originally published on their site.