According to Moore's Law, the speed and capabilities of technology are expected to double every two years. As technology becomes faster and performs better, it becomes more accessible to the general public.
Look at the evolution of the personal computer. When it first debuted, these computers were only found on college campuses and took up entire rooms. Then they were limited to elite families and tech-centric workplaces. Now, computers are so small and advanced that they’re on our wrists and in our refrigerators.
All this is to say that technology that seems complicated, expensive, or out of reach might be closer than you think.
Many business owners are using tech tools that they had previously thought were limited to giant corporations like Panera or Target. Check out these seven small business technologies that you can use, even if you have a small budget and limited tech experience.
1. WiFi Marketing
We have covered the importance of offering free customer WiFi in the past, but many business owners still think that this is one of the small business technologies that is out of reach.
One survey found that 70% of business owners believe that free WiFi increases the number of return customers, and the same amount of restaurant owners believe that free WiFi makes people spend more and stay longer. Despite these benefits, 32% of business owners who don’t offer free WiFi believe it’s too expensive.
When exploring WiFi marketing, think about the ROI that comes with it. If people spend more, then the expense will pay for itself, several times over.
2. Mobile-Optimized Web Content
Your customers expect you to have a good mobile website, no matter what business you operate.
More than half (57%) of people say they won’t recommend a business that has a poorly designed mobile page. Website traffic makes up more than half of all website traffic. You don’t have the time and resources to isolate half of your customers because of a poor mobile experience.
Look for website providers that automatically create a mobile-optimized website when you design something for the desktop. Additionally, check your mobile site and ask people what they think of it. It only takes a few clicks and site adjustments to create something that your customers can use and love.
Online chatbots are the perfect example of an online tool that seemed complex and out of reach three years ago that many people use today. In fact, more than 67% of Americans report using a chatbot at least once in the past year.
Furthermore, 40% of people say they don’t care whether a chatbot or human is helping them, as long as they get what they need. As more people get used to chatbots, more businesses can invest in them. This technology isn’t complex. There are plenty of widgets and apps you can add to your website to add this technology to your customer service strategy.
4. Digital Signage
If you are considering investing in small business technologies to improve your in-store experience, consider digital signage. Digital Signage allows you to change your brand messaging as often as you want, test different content types, and better communicate with customers.
Plus, this is one of those products that requires an upfront investment but provide long-term savings.
You won’t have to worry about printing costs or the time and effort it takes to design and approve traditional signage with a digital method. If there’s a problem with your digital sign, you can quickly change it.
5. Big Data
Big Data is the collection and analysis of larger information sets from both first and third party sources. For example, social media benchmarks might provide suggestions for engagement rates (a third-party data set) and your own social media data (a first-party data set) will show how you compare.
Almost any business can use big data to track their performance and marketing efforts. You can use analytics tools like Google Analytics to track website traffic and use internal tools like your own POS systems to track customer data such as average order value and number of customers per day.
Big Data is considered a form of technology because many collection and analytics tools are online, but it is also a form of management. Basing your business decisions off of data that you collected, rather than your gut feeling or assumptions, can allow you to take steps to improve your company and create better experiences for customers.
6. Machine Learning
The concept of machine learning often throws off a lot of business owners because it sounds complex and sounds expensive. However, this is often a tool that many tech companies use in their product development.
For example, if you use email marketing, your provider might have a machine learning and marketing automation component that sorts out top customers from people who never option your messages. These tools can auto send messages to engage customers to bring them back.
Drones are a fun and engaging way to promote your business. Fly a drone over your office and let people see where you are located and what your campus looks like. Bring a drone to an event or concert to get birds-eye footage of what’s happening on the ground.
You can use this video footage in your social media channels and on your website to show off your brand.
Are drones expensive to buy? They can be (although there are cheaper versions), but you don’t necessarily have to buy one. Look into renting a drone for a few hours and provide business to a local drone company. They might even be able to edit the video for you. Of all of the small business technologies on the list, this one is easy to try a few times without making a full investment.
Learn More About Small Business Technologies
Once you start poking around at the different technologies available to small businesses, you can see how a little creativity goes a long way to improve the customer experience.
To learn more about the options available to you for your business, check out our resource section. We have guides on some of the technology discussed above, including our free eBook, The Easiest Digital Signage Guide You'll Ever Read.