Cutting-edge tech updates are mostly applicable for established companies with huge budgets, right? Are you under the impression that it takes deep pockets and a well-known name in the industry to be a leader in tech? Not anymore. Small businesses are in a unique position to make the most of emerging technology to promote their company and to streamline their operations. Not only is it a matter of keeping up with technological advances so your organization doesn’t fall behind, but it’s also a matter of figuring out how the latest in tech can usher your business into the future and re-shape workflows on a daily basis.
Having a functional, aesthetically pleasing website isn’t enough anymore if it isn’t mobile friendly. Similarly, if you’re offering a product or service to customers, they need to be able to securely complete the transaction on their mobile device. Without these baseline capabilities, you’ll lose out on valuable conversions. And what’s the best way to reach consumers when they’re on the go? Research shows that consumers spend 86 percent of their mobile media time using apps rather than a web browser.
If your small business hasn’t already, it’s time to consider developing a simple mobile app that emphasizes functionality and ease of access for your customer or client base. Reaching people on their smartphones and tablets is a must, and building an app gives you the power to guide them toward whichever goals your small business values, whether it’s conversions, sales leads, or contact forms.
Competitive small-scale ecommerce players should focus on incorporating mobile payment apps into their offerings with an emphasis on cyber security, convenience, and accuracy. Whether you work with popular payment apps like PayPal and Square, or opt for a different scalable payment tool, it’s key to facilitate a smooth and effortless process for consumers so they don’t abandon their shopping carts halfway through out of sheer frustration.
Another smart way for small businesses to use tech to its fullest extent is to consider how they fit into the rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT). It’s not just computers and phones that connect to the Internet anymore; it’s appliances, vehicles, medical equipment, security systems, mobile payment devices, transportation sensors, and much more. According to insights from Business Insider, the Earth will contain more than 24 billion IoT-connected devices by 2020. What do small businesses stand to gain from incorporating the IoT into their workflows? The same source offers three key offerings:
-Reduced operating costs
-Expansion to new markets and products
If it seems especially daunting to get involved in the Internet of Things, consider these words from Bob O’Donnell, the president and chief analyst at TECHnalysis Research, written for USA Today: “To be clear, these aren’t eye-popping, world-changing ideas or innovations. In fact, most of them are pretty simple and, arguably, pretty boring, especially if you’re not familiar with the day-to-day needs of these kinds of vertical industries.”
In his article, O’Donnell cites multiple real-world examples of very small companies and very traditional industries using the IoT to succeed, like local fisherman who use a network of sensors and cameras, local vintners connecting to small weather stations to facilitate better plant growth, and more. By its very nature, the IoT has an application in any nearly industry.
Of course, it’s absolutely imperative to consider how integrating mobile payment apps and the IoT with your small business has the potential to affect security. For all the benefits of connectivity, organizations also open themselves up to potential issues. Just like you protect your company with the right business insurance coverage, it’s important to cover all bases whenever you make the switch to a new technology to keep your employees, clients, and customers safe.
As the leader of a small business, it’s up to you to stay on the forefront of relevant tech updates. It’s easy to think that only bigger companies have the resources and abilities to implement modern advances, but how can your company ever grow if you don’t do the same? Two of the premier answers to becoming competitive in any field lay in the future of mobile apps and the Internet of Things.