Digital Technologies Benefiting Small Businesses

How Small Businesses can Increase their Digital Capabilities

Digital technology is imperative for all businesses. It encourages using innovation and new business models and improves the experience of employees, customers, partners and stakeholders through using technology.

It’s the capability of bringing together people, data and processes to create value for your customers and maintain a competitive advantage. Digital capabilities can improve profitability, customer satisfaction and increase speed-to-market for any business.

Small businesses with high failure rate in the first five years, restaurants for example, are generally the most challenging ones in meeting the rising high-tech demands of the market and customers. Given the hype about companies using high-end technologies, most small business owners shun in this regard, due to high costs and lack of workers. But, the digitisation trend is proving to be of great advantage, cloud computing and open APIs for example, helping the small businesses to explore data in the best possible ways.

Let’s take a look at how small businesses can keep up with the digital era.

Business Website

Every facet of digital marketing is worth paying attention to, while running your small business, to increase your digital visibility and bring traffic to your website. Keeping the extensive usage of mobile devices in mind, it’s a dire need for today’s businesses to create a mobile friendly website, known as responsive website. It’s no surprise that the old style desktop websites simply won’t work anymore, as they seem clumsy and unreadable on mobile devices.

An official business website has to be simple, appealing, user friendly and compatible on all devices, be it a desktop, a tablet or a mobile phone. Users must be able to slide through the website pages and read the content without any hassle. If a customer wants to contact your business, he should be navigated to email or contact number with just a click, instead of having to note down the contact details and enter manually. This helps in turning the website visitors into potential customers.

Operations Efficiency

Selecting a cost-effective, cloud-based platform that helps in decision making for everything, from stock to staffing, is absolutely essential for retailers to run operations efficiently. If you are running a retail store, for example, you’ll need to have a record of accounting, sales, employee management and many more. You can store the records by integrating the software, you are currently using, with a third-party source like yelp or google. This helps in updating and securing data online directly, like number of sales per day, employee attendance etc.

From production to marketing and sales, every segment of a business has access to data provided by cloud and APIs. Small business can use this to draw statistics for their business operations. A hair salon, for instance, can track the number of customer visits per day, the services provided, the amount of time given to each customer and which of the services is pitching in more business. This helps businesses save their time in managing analytics.

Social Media

Social media can play a vital role in promoting your business. But, if not used properly, it can consume a whole lot of your time, considering the growing number of online platforms. The use and popularity of an individual social platform also keeps changing, depending on factors like trends and interests of a user, making it a necessity for businesses to be active on multiple platforms to reach the maximum audience. Also, it is difficult to keep a track of all the accounts.

Social media acts as a face for your business. It gives you a platform to connect and communicate with your loyal followers. Providing your followers with free goodies and promotions can help in turning your followers into your customers in the long run. But, social media promotions demand you to engage your followers and provide them with information that draws their attention.

Customer Experience — CX

Companies like Apple, Amazon and Uber are continuously improving by giving simple, effective and personalized experiences to their customers. For instance, there have been cases where the customers ordered for a product on Amazon and received a different or defective product by the third party sellers, and Amazon personalized customers’ experiences by not only refunding the money but also letting the customers keep the products for free.

Using digital devices, mobile or tablet, to take an order in restaurants also enhances customer experiences, reportedly. Businesses must accept card payments (Visa, MasterCard) and online payments (PayPal, Paytm) to stay ahead in the game.

The bottom line is that technology is transforming the business world. To stay competitive and survive, build a business that can adapt its digital capabilities and strategies rapidly to take advantage of the many benefits of digital technology. Whatever the size of your business, start with a strong digital transformation strategy, and choose the right technology to fit your business objectives.

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