There are a few tech components that every small business selling goods or services online needs in order to compete. Going mobile with a mobile-first design approach to your website and apps is a great start, but you should also be offering your customers the chance to make online payments by getting e-commerce integration.
Mobile commerce surpassed the $100-billion mark in 2017 as more customers started shopping from their tablets and smartphones. The ability to put an item from your online store into a cart from device, check out and pay from another device, then pick up the item at your brick-and-mortar store is hugely convenient for your customers. Taking in to account the customer experience will definitely give you a leg up on the competition in the year ahead.
Safety of Business Operations
Technology has been an awesome tools for businesses, but if you are not using the correct safety measures you are going to be stuck in a sticky situation. Make sure you are protecting your business data from security breaches and potential hackers. If you are using a work phone, make sure to install a VPN on IPhone or Android to ensure all your work is protected. It is also recommended to install a VPN for other work equipment like a laptop.
Local SEO has a ton of benefits for small businesses. Creating the buyer personas and doing your keyword research in preparation for a local SEO campaign is going to give you fresh insights into your customers. Once you have your local search engine optimization campaign up and running, you'll find it more easy to connect with local customers who are eager to try out your goods and services. Local SEO is an efficient way of turning curious online shoppers into real-world customers by making your contact details easy to find on major search engines like Google and Bing.
Social Media Management
If you're a small business just starting out or looking to expand your horizons by engaging your customers on a deeper level online, then you might want to consider hiring a social media manager. You'll get a lot of benefits from doing so: quality content, more time to focus on your other marketing endeavors or cyber security (more on that below), creative approaches to engaging customers on Twitter and Facebook, and lowered costs of customer acquisition.
Big Data Analytics
Big data analytics provide small businesses with the resources of the biggest companies at a fraction of the cost. Cost reduction, improved decision making, and a greater ability to anticipate customers' future needs are just a few of the benefits that you can expect from more sophisticated data analysis, according to one of the biggest customer relationship management companies in the business. Data analytics has evolved to the point that small business owners can get instant customer insights designed for immediate decision making in an increasingly competition 21st-century online business environment.
Net Neutrality Challenges
The recent FCC decision to overhaul net neutrality rules may have serious implications for small business owners. Vigilance and keeping abreast of the latest developments are good ideas moving forward. Since broadband equality could be compromised for small business owners, you may want to check on your loading times (especially on mobile devices) in the years to come. Third-party marketplaces may even charge higher fees for small business owners looking to cater to their customers online, so keep an eye on that as well. The erosion of net neutrality has yet to be fully elucidated by felt changes in the rules that small businesses have to abide by online.
Collaborative consumption pioneered by companies like Uber and Airbnb is going to shake up business as usual for small enterprises across the nation. Speaking of collaboration, Agile IT formed through collaboration between cross-functional teams could take off this year as well.
Already smaller websites are cropping up that make running errands and doing small tasks easier and more convenient for everyone. Small businesses might be able to use local shippers and transportation methods to save on logistics in the year ahead.
Small businesses owners skeptical about these changes should at least consider getting e-commerce integration and taking their social media presence more seriously. Each is promising.