Let’s face it, technology is changing businesses of all sizes at an exponential pace. And today’s business world is drastically influenced and dominated by technologies. What’s more, most businesses are vastly dependent on ever increasing technology trends as they present opportunities in infrastructure and labour cost reduction. Smaller businesses especially need to be vigilant and know the upcoming tech trends that will aid in remaining competitive.
At the same time, it does not signify that if a company acquires the latest tools will forever stay successful. There are not many things that can top having a great product and a superb customer service.
If you own a small business or want to be a thriving entrepreneur, you quickly understand the importance of knowing all the latest technological hacks that will propel the growth of your business.
In this post, I will illustrate the best small business technology trends that will be driving small business technology and growth.
*Approx 11 minute read
Who Is This Post For?
- Local business owners small to large
- Multi-unit brands such as franchise groups, dealer networks and national brands with a local presence.
- Any brand, whether you’re just starting in your digital journey or you’re advanced, this post is for you.
Commonly Asked Questions that I will Address:
- What the best small business technology trends are
- What is Digital Marketing
- What is E-Commerce
- What is Big Data
- What is Video Hosting
- What is Remote Work
- What are APIs
- What is Analytics
Trend #1: Digital Marketing
Digital marketing has rapidly evolved into its own dynamic industry.
In this ever-advancing technological climate, one of the most effective ways to ensure the success of your business is through digital marketing. It has the power to provide businesses with an immense online presence and in turn reach more customers and generate higher sales.
These days, the consumption of digital media is the norm and its exponential growth is indicating many opportunities for businesses to reach more consumers and grow sales.
People consume digital content on a regular basis whether it be checking Facebook, reading emails or online shopping.
Social networks have huge marketing potential and can be used as a database of future customers. Facebook is by far the biggest social media network on the Internet. 13 years after launching and less than five years after hitting 1 billion, Facebook now has 2 billion monthly active users.
This brings us to the process of digital transformation whereby businesses are more or less forced to adopt a culture that supports digital technologies within the business strategy.
The digital transformation process is fast becoming a competitive necessity for many businesses. Hefty and fast-moving technological advances coupled with swift market and competition changes and growing customer expectations are intensifying the need for companies to evaluate their business models, internal capabilities, and customer experiences.
Digital Marketing is a cost-effective marketing strategy that has the power to propel small businesses growth drastically.
Trend #2: E-Commerce
E-commerce is by no means a distinctive trend but brick-and-mortar businesses are on a rapid decline and shoppers have made it clear they want to do more of their shopping online and on their smartphones. Shares in Amazon (AMZN) are up 55% this year.
But those in the industry say this was not what others referred to as a “retail apocalypse.” Instead, it’s a normal evolution.
“There is always going to be winners and losers in an industry like this. It constantly in a state of flux. The whole image of the demise of traditional retailing is overblown.” said Tom McGee, CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers, a trade group of mall owners.
The other thing to note in all these closures is the ease with which businesses affected by decreased foot traffic can currently set up e-commerce websites. Thanks to drag-and-drop website creation software and secure online payment platforms, it’s easier than ever before to reach online customers, and it’s also typically cheaper than keeping a physical storefront open.
Trend #3: Big Data
In the past, small businesses have avoided the use big data. this is mainly because the perception was that utilising it was too difficult, too expensive and just plain intimidating. Without it, smaller players have historically relied more heavily on something their larger counterparts could only dream of—a personal relationship with their customers. Today, however, big data isn’t just for the big guys.
Small businesses need a deeper understanding of their customers—just like large ones do. Consumers evolve, businesses—both big and small—grow and the relationships between them change. So that means the local bakery needs more than just a fresh croissant waiting for Bill in the morning to keep him loyal. Nevertheless, many small businesses still hesitate to leverage big data. In looking at responses from a recent Nielsen poll of 2,000 small businesses in the U.S., 41 percent think conducting market research is too costly, and 42 percent say they just don’t have the time. And even more surprisingly, 35 percent went so far as to say they’ve never even considered it.
Trend #4: Video Hosting
There’s no doubt about it, videos have gained huge popularity in the last decade. It’s fast becoming a vital component of a strong digital marketing strategy.
The reason for this is simple: videos have the ability to connect on a much deeper level with the audience thus resulting in more engagement.
It’s important to note that for businesses, the habit of posting videos on YouTube are dwindling. Instead, the trend is towards platforms that provide more functionality and flexibility in the structure and management of video marketing.
Here are a few aspects to examine when figuring out what tool to use for video support:
- How will the video be used in the marketing efforts
- What types of insights are required
- The level of flexibility and customisation required
- The number of videos to be managed
Trend #5: Remote Work
Through the advancement of technology, it is now totally possible to work from home.
With the help of online services, your personnel can work remotely from anywhere.
Businesses can track the work of their employees all over the world and have all the infrastructure of a traditional office without the expenses of it. There are also savings in the outsourcing process itself.
For example, Team viewer is such a piece of software as is often used to monitor and manipulate staffs who are working from a remote place.
Trend #6: API’s
API (Application Programming Interface) is a tech that enables interaction between multiple online connected services simultaneously. There are a huge amount of online services for business solutions available, and this may seem really overwhelming when it comes to integration with one another. So APIs help leverage the power from each of these services.
Small businesses have a lot to gain from understanding APIs:
- APIs allow you to automate processes and workflows to save you countless hours of manual effort. One of the most powerful tools on the market to help you harness the potential of APIs is Zapier. Zapier provides a user-friendly interface to set up automation points between two services.
- APIs allow businesses to create integrations between multiple services. When setting up integrations, most of the API work is done behind the scenes with a friendly point and click interface. The Infusionsoft Marketplace is a great example of these types of integrations.
- APIs allow for the creation of automated reports and dashboards. Businesses can set up a report once, and it will always show the most current data set eliminating the need for manual reporting.
Trend #7: Analytics
In order to gauge marketing performance and measure digital marketing activity, businesses need a tool that will enable this data collection and analysis. These days, the majority of businesses have website analytics tools installed and working.
Naturally, Google Analytics is the main preference and it’s best integrated with AdWords to get the best out of both platforms.
By far, Google Analytics has held the #1 spot for the most used analytics tool on the web. According to BuiltWith, 39,898,129 websites are using Google Analytics across the entire internet. That includes a whopping 88% of the top 10,000 sites and 84% of the top 100,000 sites.
Technological needs and solutions for small business will always vary. But one thing is for sure, small businesses must stay on top of the latest trends in order to stay competitive in the current fast-paced technological environment.
The good news is that most of these technologies will not break the bank and can be integrated fairly easily.
To discuss which tech trends are most suitable for your business model as well as specific solutions I have developed for Franchise groups and multi-unit organisations, contact me today for a confidential discussion.