Small businesses will benefit greatly from new technologies launching in 2019. But despite the massive competitive advantages that can be accessed through new technologies, nearly 35% of small businesses state that technology is not a primary focus.
To step into the ring with bigger corporate competitors, small businesses must embrace the opportunities that technology provides.
In small businesses, the lack of innovative technologies often causes employees to work harder, not smarter. As a result, employees are unable to relinquish themselves from their desks and tasks take significant amounts of time and information to complete. To improve productivity and support a highly-skilled workforce, more employers should consider investing in futuristic technologies. Need a refresher on the cutting-edge innovations your employees can use? Here are tech options that are essential for small businesses in 2019.
Wearable devices have become well-integrated into personal activities such as exercise or tracking health progress, however, they can also be implemented in the small business world. For example, if a plumber is in the middle of a job and needs a part, wearable devices can send alerts for parts, give a job status, and check inventory.
Machine learning can benefit smaller businesses that produce adequate data streams. Device analytics show trends and respond to data that’s indicative of consumer purposes. Improving agility and responsiveness should be considered priorities in small businesses and machine learning can help.
Machine learning analyzes data flow to seek out patterns and give suggestions on increasing product and service engagement. Businesses gain insight on customer retention, upsell/cross-sell opportunities, and can also personalize the online experience. For example, email marketing systems can show how often a customer successfully clicks and reads your email, data from payment systems show how often they shop with you, and information from review websites can integrate qualitative data about their experience.
Chatbots are a great way to improve communication with customers. Chatbots use machine learning and artificial intelligence together to help customers find simple answers about products, services, or past purchases. Chatbots enhance live chat operations by answering popular questions first and can transfer to a customer service representative when more tailored support is required.
Chatbot performance is a constant challenge as they do not always generate correct responses. Machine learning algorithms train chatbots to comprehend natural language requests and produce the correct information. Still, small businesses that want to include chatbots in their customer service should double check that the chatbot can learn effectively.
Bitcoin has made headlines for years as an explosive cryptocurrency avenue. In fact, it is the oldest application of blockchain. Blockchain is a register that uses individual computers to create permanent records that cannot be altered. Blockchain companies are creating records for employment verification and document validation, to name a few. Blockchain also creates smart contracts embedded in a code to automate transactions for swiftness and to reduce costs.
While blockchain technology will start to gain importance among small businesses in 2019, the technology may still be years away from widespread deployment. Small business owners and executives should use this time to understand blockchain and research reputable vendors. When new blockchain applications gain popularity among small businesses, you’ll be prepared to become an expert user.
Business Intelligence Tools
Cloud-based technology has paved the way for business intelligence tools, and small businesses can benefit from these insights. Businesses can pull data from financial systems and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, then perform analytics to understand customer purchasing and expense patterns. This tool improves service and add-on offerings while forecasting demand.
Small business owners are increasingly buying mobile devices and mobility technology to maintain communications with their team. Businesses can encourage employees to succeed by supplying company mobile devices and matching employees to the device that best fits their needs in the role. If a company does not supply the mobile devices, then employees can bring their own, but keep in mind that the company will manage the devices via enterprise mobility management (EMM).
Small businesses can gain competitive advantages by implementing the above technology tools and learning as much as possible. Will your small business use technology to increase customer service, customer experience, customer retention, engagement and drastically improve productivity?
Adrian Rubin is an established creative writer and photography from the Philadelphia area where he volunteers at an animal shelter in the city. His passion for travel, food, and technology have solidified his place as an expert in those industries.