By Sean Roberts
SucceedinginSmallBusiness.com wrote recently about tech trends for small business in 2016, and that’s a topic that could spawn endless conversations. We live in a world in which technology is developing rapidly and constantly, and it’s very important for small business owners to stay up-to-date on the changes. In this article we look at a few adjustments your small business can specifically make to accommodate some of the technologies your customers may want to make use of.
The most important step along these lines that a small business can take is designing a mobile app. This may sound like a difficult or expensive thing to do, but it has become marginally easier for people with limited experience in app design to produce results. There are several platforms that simplify app creation to the point that the average small business owner can at least put together something functional that can serve as the go-to mobile point of contact for customers. Once you have an app, you’re allowing your customers to interact with your business in the manner many of them will be most comfortable with. Basically, you’re opening up the most efficient possible means of communicating information with your customers.
Another increasingly vital innovation that has to do with how you interact with customers once they are actually at your store or business location is to facilitate modern payment methods. The traditional cash register approach is largely being phased out, and today small businesses are using more convenient payment methods. This can mean anything from a countertop card machine that allows customers to swipe cards on their own, to contactless pay technology that works with Apple Pay and other digital means of transferring card information. More and more customers appreciate options like these in the name of convenience and efficiency, so you’re addressing customer desires pretty directly by offering these methods.
Finally, to address another in-store concern, you may also want to think about equipping brick-and-mortar locations to interact with wearable technology. Apple Watch and its competitors still feel a little bit like novelty items or unnecessary luxuries right now, but they’re becoming more popular and their usefulness is growing. One of the best ways to engage with this trend is to make your app compatible with smart watches. However, you may also want to explore the idea of setting up a way—either through beacons, the app, or both—to link up with devices customers are wearing to send them real-time updates (such as flash sales, rewards points, or even a simple greeting). Customers are wearing these devices anyway, so you may as well take advantage of the potential they have to deepen the connection to your business.
There’s more a small business can do to embrace new technologies and improve overall performance. By taking advantage of the ideas presented here, you can equip your business to respond specifically to the tech your customers are already using to the benefit of the company.
Sean Roberts is a freelance writer hailing from Boston, Mass. He typically covers anything in the realm of business, tech, and finance, and he can’t wait for the baseball season to start up again.