Small Business Technology Trends of 2016
At present, small business can use a variety of sophisticated technologies to compete with large and established businesses effectively. Continuous innovation, research and development have further make a variety of technologies and tools accessible and affordable for small businesses. But the small business owners still need to keep track of the top technology trends to accelerate growth and gain market share in 2016.
Top Technology Trends Small Business Owners Must Track in 2016
1) Cloud Computing
Cloud computing helps small businesses to reduce their operational costs significantly. Many businesses have already moved to cloud storage to continue business processes without investing in infrastructure and onsite web server and renting additional office space. The businesses also have option to choose from several cloud storage options according to their needs and budget. So more small businesses are expected to take advantage of cloud storage, while availing better cloud backup and restore services. Many small businesses are also expected to use cloud-based analytics tools to avail valuable information about emerging trends and customer behavior.
2) Web Stores
As per a report posted on Fortune.com, “Online e-commerce sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day continued to grow to record spending levels, thanks to more shoppers forgoing crowds in stores to shop at home. Together, shoppers spent $4.45 billion online on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day, according to data released by Adobe.” Based on the volume of eCommerce sales, one can easily predict that more and more people will buy products and services online. Hence, small businesses have to take their stores online, and build user-friendly web stores to boost sales and expand their business. However, the small business owners will be required to promote their web stores through social networks and email marketing to attract more customers.
3) Mobile Apps
A number of studies revealed a sharp decline in mobile web usage in 2015. It’s too early to decide but some people think Mobile Web is dead; it’s all about apps now. These studies also highlighted a steady increase in the popularity of mobile apps. So the small businesses need to launch mobile apps promote and sell their products and services more effectively. The mobile app will help the small business to promote its products by targeting the most relevant customers, and attract customers by offering special deals. At the same time, the mobile app will further make it easier for customers to buy the products quickly and smoothly. However, the small businesses need to implement a comprehensive strategy to develop and promote their mobile apps.
4) Digital Currency and Mobile Wallets
In 2015, many companies launched mobile payment systems. In the era of smart phones and smart devices, Mobile Wallets have been gaining significant traction nowadays. At present, the customers have option to make payment using a number of mobile wallets in addition to Apple Pay and Android Pay. The near-field communication terminal used by the payment systems make it easier for users to pay for various products and services in a quick and convenient way. Likewise, many companies have plans to revive Bitcoin to make payments more secure and international money transfers more hassle-free. The small businesses must allow customers in 2016 to make payment for the products bought by them through the mobile app or website using digital currency and mobile wallets.
5) Wearable Technologies
In 2015, several companies launched various models of smartwatches and other wearable devices. But the wearable devices are yet to become as popular as smartphones and tablets. But many companies have successfully used wearable devices like Google Glass in distributed environments. As the wearable devices facilitate hands-free communication, it becomes easier for professionals to multitasking. The small businesses & nimble startups will take advantage of new wearable devices in 2016 to make their employees more productive.
6) Tools for Managing Data and Customers
The small businesses need a variety of tools to manage their documents, data and customer information efficiently. A small business can further use customer relationship management (CRM) system to offer a wide variety of services to customers promptly. At present, enterprises have option to choose from a number of commercial and free CRMs. But many small businesses will look for CRMs that help them to gather more information about customers. Likewise, they will explore option to stay connected with the customers by integrating the CRMs with various social networking platforms.
7) Information Security
With more and more people accessing internet on their mobile devices, it has become easier for small business to gather a huge amount, and wide variety of customer data. But the business must make their applications fully secure to collect, store and share the valuable data without breaching the trust of customers. The small businesses have to switch from defensive to offensive security options in 2016 to protect their applications and data completely. The businesses will need sophisticated security tools to accelerate growth by taking advantage of the big data.
Many small businesses are expected to allow employees to bring and use their own devices(BYOD) in 2016. So the owners have to invest in productive application and collaboration platforms to carry out processes smoothly through distributed teams. These tools will further make it easier for small businesses to save money by outsourcing processes to competent partners, and hire offshore software developers.