In this digital era, small businesses now have access to a wealth of tools they’ve never had access to before. Even small startups are now able to compete in local and global markets at levels previously limited to enterprise companies. New marketing techniques, payment methods, inventory management tools, and development tools – all of these are being made possible by rapid changes in technology. And small businesses are the ones who are winning. Below are the top five trends you should keep an eye out for during the rest of the year.
EMV Chip Technology
Now that security is at the top of the minds of most consumers, EMV chip technology is gaining popularity as these chips make it difficult for malicious individuals to create fake payment cards. Traditional credit cards use magnetic strips which contain unchanging information. When an attacker gains access to the information, they’re easily able to clone the cards and use it for malicious purposes. EMV chips on the other hand generate codes for each transaction. If an attacker were to gain access to these databases, they wouldn’t be able to use the codes for future purchases.
Since EMV technology is fairly new, most small businesses need to overhaul their credit card processing software and terminals with modern versions which support reading the chips.
Now that many point of sale (POS) systems have ecommerce support built-in, small businesses are able to leverage the best of both digital and in-store customers, leading to greater sales. Popup shops for example, enable small businesses to test new revenue streams, engage with customers offline, improve brand awareness, and also educate new customers on product offerings. At the end of the season sales don’t have to stop because your online properties can stay open throughout the year.
Business analytics tools are becoming increasingly popular. While they were mostly considered useful for large corporations, small businesses are beginning to realize the value of real-time data and use analytics tools. Why? Because analytics tools help small businesses see what they’re doing wrong, what’s working for them, and how to improve. There are many tools for different aspects of your business such as social media, email, and marketing campaigns. Most popular of these tools is Google Analytics. By allowing all your data to converge on one platform, small businesses can now leverage their new found information to make informed decisions.
Inventory Management Software
Inventory management is one of the biggest challenges small businesses face because they often don’t have the ability to dedicate individuals to handle the tasks. This often results in wasted stock and lost goods. Fortunately, modern inventory management software makes it easier than ever for small business to keep track of inventory simply by scanning barcodes and then having the data digitally logged into their systems.
Although they used to be limited to larger companies, many small businesses are beginning to launch their own mobile apps. Tools such as the Microsoft PowerApps tool are making it easy for virtually anyone to create their own apps regardless of technical expertise. In many cases the advanced technologies behind applications are enabling businesses to embed click-to-call voice and video communications capabilities within their code. This means you can seamlessly integrate video chat into your apps as a new way to communicate with your customers and enhance the overall experience.
Although all these trends are fairly notable, this list is far from comprehensive. Technology is always evolving and there’s so much innovation going on that it’s impossible to list everything here. The best way to keep pace with these shifts and changes is to ensure you’re always open to learning new things. By reading up on industry trends and having the flexibility to try new things within your business, you’ll be able to make the most of the modern systems out there.
With the latest technology tools in place, it’s a good time to revisit your business structure. Call CorpNet.com today for a free business consultation to incorporate a business, form an LLC, file a DBA and more! 888.449.2638
Charles Costa is a writer and marketing analyst for Fit Small Business and other publications. He focuses on helping companies grow, one word at a time. His areas of expertise include software, hardware, biotech, finance and general technology. You can learn more about him at CharlesCosta.net.
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