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The 2021 digital trends perfect for small businesses

Every January, we are inundated with a myriad of articles and posts on the new trends of the upcoming year. What’s more, these trends are often advanced techniques, such as high-tech, requiring a large amount of money to invest… which small businesses simply do not have.

As a small business ourselves, we understand the worry that many small businesses owners have when it comes to keeping up with the trends. That’s why we have focussed our attention on the attainable 2021 digital trends that small businesses can easily implement in order to skyrocket to success!


Instead of: Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality technology

Opt for: Conversational advertising, virtual events

We’ve all seen the shift towards using artificial intelligence and AR technology as part of your new marketing strategy. But highly advanced elements such as chatbots and AR ‘try-on’ are just too expensive and time-consuming for small businesses.

There are some simpler marketing trends for 2021 that are easier, cheaper and - to be honest - more effective!:

Conversational advertising: Due to the events of 2020, a more human form of interaction has become more important than ever. This year, it’s all about showing your customers that you care. Adopting a conversational tone to your digital marketing channels is the easiest and most effective way to show this. You can also opt for social media channels to communicate rather than the more traditional forms e.g. emails.

Virtual events: 2020 also saw the necessity of virtual events, due to the in-person restrictions throughout the year. These are still going strong in 2021. Use popular online platforms to host remote virtual events, in order to increase ROI’s, new audiences, participation and accessibility.


Instead of: Shoppable post features, Virtual Reality

Opt for: Organic everything, Interactivity

Social media itself is a trend that is here to stay in 2021. Many popular social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have recently made some additions to transform the way social media is used in the future, including the introduction of shoppable features and virtual reality. These are innovative ideas, but not attainable for most small businesses, due to obligatory set-up costs and advanced technology.

Away from the technically complex side of social media, there are some major trends that are easy to implement to your platforms. These promise to transform the way your audience will engage with your business:

Organic everything: Not only is organic content valued more by users, but the latest social media platform algorithms have placed ranking importance on everything organic - from content to engagement. Carefully create content that has intent, value, relevance and compassion for maximum engagement results.

We will be releasing our very own guide on how to beat the new Instagram algorithm, covering organic engagement. Keep your eyes peeled!

Interactivity: Interactive elements have become more and more popular over 2020, and are predicted to reign supreme throughout 2021! Interactive elements are one of the main features newly valued in social media algorithms, so consistently incorporating interactive features into your social media is going to increase your business’s success.


Instead of: Interactive 3D content, Neumorphism

Opt for: Minimalism, comfortable colours

3D content will continue to have a strong presence in web design in 2021, but with a more advanced impact - interactivity. Branching off from 3D web design is the creation of Neumorphism; the combination of skeuomorphism and material design for a more minimalist 3D effect. Used by the likes of Tesla and Spotify, these web design trends often feel like they’re for the tech giants only.

But 3D isn’t the only big web design trend for 2021. After the recent pandemic, users are returning to websites that are simpler and more organic. To achieve this, small businesses can use the following alternatives:

Minimalism: From lots of white space to minimal fonts and colours, minimalism is often the most effective option for your web design. Stripping away the excessive details and focussing on a simple digital experience is definitely the way things are heading in 2021.

Want to learn more about minimalist elements you can incorporate into your web design? Take a look at our post on Wabi-Sabi inspiration for your website!

Comfortable colours: Bright colours are a thing of the past - not only overdone by many companies, but users are also left straining their eyes when looking at them for too long! Comfortable colour palettes, such as light pastels or more ‘natural’ colours evoke the sense of calm that users in 2021 are looking for, as well as improving accessibility.


Instead of: Fully customisable interfaces, accessibility technology

Opt for: Dark mode/low-light, simplification

Throughout 2021 we will see a larger effort being made to create more accessible designs through UX and UI. It is predicted that fully customisable interfaces will become the new standard, providing a unique web experience using variables of elements that adapt to each and every user. This will also include various accessibility technology to apply to customisation, such as sound recordings, VUI’s and transcripts. Although an important step towards accessibility, a fully customisable UX design is an advanced process that requires a lot of resources, time and money.

Here are some simple alternatives to these trends that will help the digital presence of your small business become more accessible to all:

Dark mode/Low-light: Dark mode or low-light modes not only capture the attention of your users but also creates an environment that makes elements more visible and reduces eye-strain. More and more digital platforms such as Spotify, Whatsapp and Instagram are understanding the UX benefits of the dark side!

Simplification: How can we expect small business to dramatically increase time, money and expertise for an overcomplicated UX/UI design? In 2021, it’s time to take a step back and return to simpler versions of these processes… after all, isn’t the whole point of UX/UI to make digital experiences simple and easy?

It’s always important to adapt your business to maintain interest and relevance. But it’s more important to think smart and identify what trends will be beneficial for you... and whether they are truly attainable!

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