Technology: Keep Up or Be Left Behind!

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) is upon us, and it is expected to change how we live, work, and communicate. As IR 4.0 picks up speed, we can see a definite shift in business models and employment trends.

This age of cutting-edge technology can mean a lot in terms of advancing small businesses. Nevertheless, to implement these new systems and software could be costly for small business owners. You can still benefit from new and developing technology. Here are a few tips to help your small business thrive without having to dip into your savings:

Customer Interaction

The popularity of social media has taken customer interaction to the next level.

Social media refers to websites and applications that are designed to allow people to share content quickly, efficiently, and in real-time. Facebook, Instagram and Twiter are among the most popular social media sharing sites that are often used by the public to engage with brands and business with a total of 1 billion users as of September 2019, and are expected to reach more than 2 billion in the not-so-distant future.

Changing technologies help you reach more potential customers than ever before, around the clock. Social media platforms, mobile marketing, various types of content marketing, and much more increase the visibility of your business far beyond your local community—often on a reasonable budget.

To maintain customer interaction, all that is required of business owners today is to have a few social media profiles that can be consistently maintained, and to engage customers by responding to their messages, and inviting reviews as well as customer-generated content. This allows you to observe nearly every aspect of your audience’s behaviour, thus providing a wealth of insight into customer motivation. By doing this, business owners will be able to understand their customers better. This also allows them to be more proactive about customers’ wants, which in return increased sales and customer loyalty.

Online Payments

One of the most popular trends in the business world today is e-commerce. Often called online payment, this has become the favoured form of purchasing for most customers. Web-based payment systems make it easy to send or receive payments. Furthermore, they do so while offering a host of payment options. Many of these platforms even offer seamless integration into popular accounting programs.

When you accept digital payments on your e-commerce website, you will expand your customer base to include far more people than before—those who want to pay offline and those who prefer online payment. In addition to that, the introduction of online payments can also attract a more global audience if you use a payment gateway that allows customers to pay in their local currency.

Moreover, one of the appeals of online payments is that they are faster than manual payments. The whole process of making an online payment may only take seconds. The result is immediate confirmation of transactions and improved the cash flow for your organisation. Do some research in advance to know which payment options suits your existing and potential customers. In other words, the more types of payments you accept, the more customers you will attract.

Analytical Tools

This method may be a little more costly than the previous entries but it certainly is the most formidable entry on this list. Companies have widely embraced the use of analytics to streamline operations and improve processes. Nevertheless, applying analytical tools will provide important data that will in turn inform intelligent and capable business decisions.

For instance, using analytical tools, you can gauge the percentage of visitors to your website that browse your site on their mobile browsers, or you can assess your page load speeds. The most common, popular and widely used is Microsoft Excel. Such information will provide a better understanding of your business and the direction in which it is heading. In addition, it also allows you to better recognise new business opportunities that may have been generally neglected, for example, undiscovered client demands.

Thus, with the right application of analytical tools, the potential for growth and profitability becomes endless and more intelligence-based.

As the new industrial revolution gathers speed, small business owners should take advantage of these new technologies to help their business thrive. With the internet and social media at our fingertips every day, the opportunities for business are constantly growing. Nevertheless, it all depends on how we choose to use new technology.

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