As the year-end approaches and the new budgeting cycle begins, one of the top budgetary priorities for small businesses is no surprise – technology. According to Palo Alto Software's March 2015 study, 81% of small businesses planned on investing in cloud, mobile and tech. In 2016, this number is sure to go up as companies strive to keep pace with an ever-evolving consumer base.
Customer Journey Mapping
Advancements in data analytics and a proliferation of customer tracking tools are allowing companies to learn more about their customers. Knowledge is power and the more a company knows about the needs and wants of their consumer base, the better their opportunity to provide the experience customers are looking for. Moreover, journey mapping is simply that – a digital map that reveals the customer's interaction with the company: from the first contact to engagement. This allows companies to not only see what they're doing right but, more importantly, what they are doing wrong.
Same Day Delivery
Advancements in shipping technologies are making same day deliveries feasible for small businesses. Now small to mid-size businesses can compete with larger corporations, like Amazon, who have largely built their following catering to the modern customer's high expectations. We live in a world of now where customers expect instant gratification. Expect same day delivery contractors like Deliv to grow in number, which will eventually reduce the current high cost that prevents some businesses from offering this service.
Mobile Will Be a Must
It's already imperative for larger companies to provide a rich mobile experience, and now the same expectation is being applied to smaller companies. In order to compete, it is not enough for small and mid-sized companies to be mobile friendly, they have to fully embrace it. Moreover, if you thought that mobile was only important for the sake of the customer, think again. As mobile technology advances, it will become increasingly cost-effective for online companies to utilize mobile solutions with back-end capabilities, allowing business personnel to manage key functions of their duties from their mobile device.
The prevalence of technology in today's business world can be seen as both a detriment and a boon to small businesses. On the one side, the old adapt-or-die adage certainly rings true. The good news, however, is that as business technology progresses, it is becoming more affordable for small and mid-sized companies. So even if you do not have the dollars to compete with the likes of Amazon or Apple, you can still utilize new advancements that can help you to improve your service to your customer base.