The world of technology is expanding at an incredible rate, and businesses of all sizes must stay ahead of trends to stay afloat. At first glance, adopting new technologies seems easier for large companies, which often have the resources to take risks on emerging technologies and may have entire divisions dedicated to research and tech advancement.
However, small business owners can gain huge advantages over their competitors by paying close attention to emerging tech trends and becoming early adopters.
In this post, we’ll share five tech tools that can help your small business attract new business and beat out the competition.
Many small business owners have resisted creating an app because of budget concerns or a misunderstanding about what, exactly, an app could do for their business. Developing an app can benefit you in several ways: an app serves as its own marketing tool as customers are likely to see your logo every time they unlock their iPhones.
In addition, an app is an easy way to engage with your customers. By sending alerts about sales or daily deals, you can develop relationships with customers and boost your online sales revenue.
I don’t need to tell you that your business needs to have a website, no matter your size or target market. And thanks to new technologies, do-it-yourself web design platforms have made creating a beautiful and functional website more affordable than ever.
For instance, Squarespace has become arguably the top web design platform for amateurs, offering users the chance to reserve a domain for just $20 and then get started on easy, point-and-click design. Another good option is Wix, which aims to simplify design, largely for the benefit of small business owners.
A major part of running a business is tracking product inventory and managing the shipping process, and technologies like GPS tracking have made tracking your customers’ orders from check out to delivery seamless.
While larger companies employ GPS tracking on entire fleets’ worth of supply trucks in order to measure vehicle diagnostics and ensure the safety and productivity of fleet drivers, GPS tracking is also accessible for small businesses. Internet-enabled sensors can send automatic alerts when you’re low on a given product, and if you do have any sort of shipping operations in place, you can install WiFi in vehicles to manage routing and diagnostics remotely.
Not unlike the idea of inventory tracking, installing in-store beacons involves placing tiny, WiFi-enabled sensors in store locations with the goal of improving efficiency. However, while tracking inventory is more of an internal practice, beacons are meant to engage with customers in the same way your mobile app should.
Beacons can recognize customers when they enter your store locations and immediately send anything from coupons and product locations within the store, to an individual customer’s purchasing history or habits. The general idea is to replicate some of the convenience of online shopping in real life, and it’s something a lot of major retail chains are already having success with.
The old days of having a simple cash register and card reader are quickly coming to an end, as more and more consumers switch to electronic payment methods like Apple Pay, or even Bitcoin. Stripe has made paying online invoices easier than ever. ZipBooks’ ability to process credit card payments (and soon ACH) makes this arguably the easiest modern tech to implement in your business and will help you get paid faster from a large swath of customers.
If you’re looking to implement new technologies into your small business, these five ideas are a great place to start. And, if you’re searching for an easy-to-use (and free!) accounting software, see how ZipBooks makes organizing your business’ finances smoother than ever.