Small businesses need to keep abreast of technology trends to be able to offer consumers what they want – and more. To ensure you stay ahead of your competitors, check out the following tech trends which look set to burgeon in 2016.
First and foremost, businesses can use Cloud solutions to streamline business procedures and increase their bottom line. You will have come across the Cloud when using services such as Amazon, Netflix, and Yahoo Mail. Now, more and more small businesses are discovering the benefits of the Cloud.
The Cloud basically refers to software and services that run on the internet instead of on your physical computer. These include Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive, among others. The way it works is that software and storage for your account exist on the service’s computer Cloud so you can access information anywhere and on any device, as long as you have an internet connection. Instead of saving files, apps, or software to your hard drive or an external drive, they are saved to the Cloud, which means you and your colleagues can access and edit specified files on the go.
Advantages for Small Businesses
The Cloud has many advantages for small businesses. You can store and view media, files, and documents without using up your computer’s storage; if your business computers crash, data is backed up in the Cloud and can be restored; it is also a better cost option than paying for physical hardware.
Use technology to boost your sales and get online. If you don’t already have one, consider an online site. Use social media and email marketing to attract and retain customers, by including links to your website. Spread the news about special offers, strengthen relationships with points systems, and let customers know about prizes and competitions to increase the number of visitors to your website.
Videos for Marketing
A video is a perfect way to market your product or service while conveying your company’s personality and values. Apps like Snapchat, Meerkat, and Periscope make it easy to create engaging videos that enable you to connect with your customers. Use videos as an inexpensive and effective marketing tool; showcase your brand, explain your product, and don’t forget to include a call to action.
Ensure your website is a mobile friendly site and consider providing your customers with the option to use it to order your goods or services. This is working incredibly well for food outlets. Also, keep up to date with mobile phone payment technology. NFC (near-field communication) technology allows mobile payments from a hand-held device that is equipped with an NFC chip. Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and Mobile Wallets use this technology.
Increasingly, consumers want to process a payment at the checkout using mobile technology, or methods of payment that are more secure than credit or debit cards. EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) are smart cards that are dipped into a reader or read over a short distance using radio-frequency technology. Make sure your small business is up to date with EMV technology.
Data security breaches are still a huge problem for all size businesses but small businesses are often targeted. The chip in the EMV creates unique codes which are difficult to duplicate, which makes it different to a traditional payment card which has a magnetic stripe. In fact, data security measures are improving all the time, for example, more advanced biometric recognition processes are being developed using fingerprints, voice recognition, pulse, and keystroke detection.
Make sure your small business stays ahead of the technology trends this year – and keep your customers coming back for more.