A lot of small business sink early in the cycle. They don’t make it big. Basically, it all depends on your ability to adapt to the marketplace. Not only do you have to create new business, but you also have to meet the current demand and all the while making sure that you don’t lose a lot of money. This is one of the reasons why small businesses hesitate in adopting new technologies and pay for it later in the cycle. They mistakenly assume that once their strategies are working, they will keep on working just like this in the future.
REASONS TO ADOPT
No matter how hesitant small business owners are in adopting new technology, the fact is that the world is changing rapidly. So is the business industry. Customers now don’t have the same expectations from a business that they had before. Their expectations from customer service to advertising has changed and they only support the brands that fulfil these expectations.
According to Forbes, customers now prefer brands that are easier to navigate, offer customized products/services, and are more accessible. Basically, they want from brick and mortar brands what they want from their online experience.
Technology is helping companies adjust to these expectations from customers who are digital. But it only works if you are willing to change your ways. Here’s how you can meet the demands of your customers, online or physical, and ensure a future for your brand.
“Hello, I’m Glenn. How can I help you today?”
Sounds familiar right? Chatbots are an excellent way for companies to give 24/7 support to their customers. Not only does it cater to the customers, it’s not expensive at all.
According to Business Insider, by 2020 more than 85% of all customer interactions will be managed by bots. And you can see that it has already started happening. People are now relaxing in their interactions with bots. They are accepting these interactions more.
There are various services now that help you with automated customer service across multiple channels. Track and reply to the questions or complaints that come your way and learn from the data that your bots collect from the customers. You will need to train your customer support officers to pick up the conversation from a bot and monitor them for accuracy. Make sure that your AI software is learning and soon it will be able to handle common requests and queries.
Wearable tech has the potential to revolutionize your day to day business communications. These will help you whether you’re looking for another channel to reach your customers or looking to enhance the productivity of your employees.
Some companies are already using these gadgets to track the efficiency and productivity of their employees in their warehouses. And if your customers are wearing them too, then you have an additional channel to communicate with them.
But if you really want to use wearables to enhance your business then you don’t need the Google Glass or anything else. The best way to use wearables to help your business is to integrate a wellness program that tracks your fitness. According to Chris Brauer from the University of London, these fitness programs are strongly related to lower rates on insurance policies for companies. Think about it. That is a big expense for small business and if you can do something about that, it will save you some major bucks.
The one thing that you should consider is that before going for tracking and monitoring, you should probably lay it out for your employees – put it down in the contract, and give them a way to opt out if they want.
INTERNET OF THINGS
In 2017, 157 billion dollars were spent by customers on devices related to IoT. These included everything from wireless cars, thermostats, freezers, ACs to security systems. This was once considered a novelty. Not many people had these, but as time is changing so are the customers’ demands. Now they need devices like these that upload and receive data.
Security experts are already on top of these devices and thinking of ways to hack-proof of these devices. Let’s face it, nobody wants a hacker to get to their baby monitor or a car for that matter. If you’re into manufacturing, you need to get ahead of these problems and address these concerns so that you can deliver a product to your customers that they can count on. This will not only boost sales but also customer loyalty.
Also called connection-as-a-service, this technology has already been adapted by giants like Amazon and Airbnb. They have made empires out of simply allowing buyers and sellers to connect with each other. Some startups are even receiving handsome amounts for this service.
Does that mean you have to leave your business and start creating an app? Not at all. Keep your business running. You don’t need to be a startup to leverage the benefits of people commerce. What you can do is to partner with these connection services and make sure that your product is more accessible to customers by using the gig economy and the delivery economy. This will increase your visibility as well as opportunities to connect with your customer.
Like we said earlier, customers are getting more and more demanding. They have more expectations from brands and they only go for the brand that fulfills these expectations. More and more customers are reporting that they would rather work with a brand that gives them a personalized experience. Now you may have a manufacturing business, or you might be offering some kind of service. The best way to make sure that you offer your customer something personal is through a responsive website. Make sure that your customers get an amazing experience every time they visit your website. You can just look up for a good web development company in Australia and give them your demands and expectations. An awesome responsive website goes a long way. It will increase your brand’s loyalty as well as giving you insights into what your customers really want.
3D printing offers you personalization like no other technology can. It gives you the power to turn affordable prototypes in the space of a single day, even less sometimes. This means that everyone from a tech giant to a small startup can now work as fast as they want to. Another advantage of 3D printing is personalization. You can give the customer exactly what he needs. That includes anything from mugs, iPhone covers to shoes and dentures.
As the playing field levels and technology becomes more and more affordable, it is up to small businesses to benefit from it. Early adopters of disruptive technologies will definitely be part of the boom.