This recession has driven home the importance of smart, streamlined business practices and the effects that minor decisions can have on your bottom line. It is more imperative now than ever that you earn and maintain customer loyalty.   Here at TimeForge, we have scoured our resources to present you with a shortlist of the five top trends of 2010 that help you earn new customers and keep the customers you have:

1. Be green!

  • Green power, as defined by the EPA, is “electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric sources.”
  • Why, other than eco-conscientiousness, are businesses jumping on this “green” bandwagon? According to a 2008 National Restaurant Association survey, 62% of diners say they would prefer to eat at an environmentally friendly restaurant, and this statistic undoubtedly transfers to other industries.
  • Jump on this trend by switching to energy saving light bulbs and appliances at your stores. TimeForge can help you reduce your paper waste with our completely electronic labor management software!

2. Offer discounts!

  • In this economy, everyone is money-conscious.
  • reports that discount stores’ revenues are growing, while high-end retailers are seeing massive losses.
  • Jump on this trend by offering discounted products, perhaps on special “sale days”, or offering a low-budget option on your menu.

3. Health-consciousness

  • This trend is closely related to the green movement. As consumers pay more attention to their impact on the planet’s health, they are also paying closer attention to their personal health.
  • This trend is also related to the growth in the number of baby boomers in retirement. As they age, boomers are paying much more attention to their bodies and health, and in this economy, everyone (not just boomers) is paying attention to their wallets. Watching every penny makes consumers want their money to go further – so a cheap, but healthy meal has a greater positive impact than a fast food meal.
  • Jump on this trend by partnering with a local gym and offering a free gym membership to one customer per month, offer health-promoting products, or provide a healthy option on your menu.

4. Stress relievers

  • According to the American Pet Products Association, the amount of money pet owners spend on their pets annually increased by $2.2 billion from 2009 to 2010! As points out, that number is greater than “the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world!”
  • To jump on this trend, consider reserving an area of your location as a “pet friendly” area full of pet products for sale, or offer a pet friendly option on your menu!

5. Internet and mobile marketing

  • If your business doesn’t already have an online presence, it should. Utilize the possibilities that the internet offers: fast and easy communication, specifically targeted advertising, fast tracking of budget, workforce optimization, stellar labor management tools, and excellent networking tools.
  • Mobile marketing has jumped into the major non-traditional marketing pool, and everyone is hopping on the bandwagon. Consider providing a mobile application to your customers that updates them on current sales or specials at your business, provides a catalog or menu, or lets them see the current wait time for a table at your restaurant.

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