Amazon may capture all the headlines, but small and mid-size businesses still play a significant role in global eCommerce. Companies who are still establishing and growing their brands had a good 2016 — and they expect an even better 2017.

BigCommerce surveyed over 500 online merchants to gauge small business sentiment and growth tactics. A lot is going on in the world — both on and offline — leaving some ambiguity as to how businesses are feeling about their prospects for success this year. From the use of chatbots to developing a user-friendly mobile site and creating personalised offers, we think the eCommerce trends of 2017 should be here to stay.

Now time it’s time to see the results! The research showed, businesses are more optimistic than ever. Here’s an insight into the growth plans of over 500 successful eCommerce shops.

This was confirmed in the NFIB report, which showed small biz optimism to be at an all-time high.

So if businesses are feeling good about their growth potential in 2017, the question then becomes, how?

Between VR, sophisticated retargeting methods, and chatbots, a number of new technologies and trends are available for businesses to consider from a growth perspective. Survey respondents were asked about these, and their answers were interesting — yet ultimately unsurprising: small businesses are sceptical of new technology with unproven ROI.

Again, not surprising, but something for marketers to take note of. As long as SEO, email, and Facebook advertising are still working – which they are, cash and time-strapped businesses would rather defer the marketing experimentation to the larger entities with large R&D budgets.

In that respect, entrepreneurs lean heavily on the old engineering saying: if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. And it’s hard to blame them.

You can view all the data from the small business survey on the BigCommerce Blog post, but here are a few stats that jumped out to us:

  • 76% of businesses feel Facebook and Instagram have the highest potential of any social channel for driving growth (more so than Pinterest or Twitter, for example)
  • 38% of businesses want to expand to Amazon
  • 78% of businesses have high expectations for mobile wallets
  • 67% of Millennials and 56% of Gen Xers prefer to shop on online rather than in-store

See the infographic below for more interesting trends and data points about SMB optimism in 2017: