Digitisation has shaken up the competitive landscape in virtually every industry. It is transforming business models, creating opportunities for innovation and enabling business growth.
With the options of APIs, cloud computing, a spectrum of big data solutions to boost collaboration, lower technology costs and discover profitable customer insights. For small businesses that are yet to go digital or increase their digital capabilities, the question is often ‘where do we start?’
Here are four ways in which any small business can use digital innovation to their advantage.
- Consider moving your operations online
Investing in web-based technologies can allow your team to work more efficiently and optimise operational costs. Here’s how:
- A cloud point-of-sale platform that integrates accounting, staff management, sales taxation, customer analytics and loyalty programs can facilitate effective decision-making and free up time for strategic initiatives.
- Make it easy for teams and remote workers to share files and collaborate more effectively with cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud storage.
- If you want to improve your customer support, there are a number of affordable and powerful online tools designed with small businesses in mind.
- Shore up your social media marketing
By identifying the most popular social media websites used by your customers, then using the relevant analytics tools (whether that’s Facebook Insights, Twitter analytics or a free analytics tool), you can build a consumer picture to understand their likes, interests and create a content calendar.
Small businesses often find it more convenient to outsource their social media marketing to qualified agencies, who often also handle their other digital marketing requirements, including search engine optimisation, graphic design and brand activation.
- Create personalised customer experiences online
It is more cost-effective to retain existing customers than capturing new ones. Loyal customers also serve as brand advocates, sending referrals your way and spreading their positive association with your brand by word-of-mouth, social media and review websites.
It’s worth considering:
- If you’re in the restaurant, hospitality or retail business, consider incorporating smart phones or tablets to improve guest experiences. About 42% of customers prefer to receive email receipts instead of physical receipts.
- Implement a mobile loyalty programme that rewards customers for purchases or successful referrals. If you’re using a customer relationship management tool, you have the option to integrate the loyalty programme with the CRM to send push notifications, reminders and initiate other engagement tactics.
- Develop your staff’s digital skills
Whether you have a millennial or multi-generational workforce, encourage everyone to enhance their digital skills and have them understand how you are using digital to grow the business. Evaluate how you can implement a formal training and development programme, as well as the creation a culture that embraces digital skills.
A last word about security
When choosing cloud-based software or online tools, pay close attention to the level of security and support assured by the provider. Have security policies in place for staff to ensure that customer data stays protected, private and uncompromised. If in doubt, ask a professional.