The Top 12 Technology Trends for Small Businesses in 2018
In today’s digital age, it is crucial for small businesses to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology. With the ever-changing landscape of the business world, it is essential to adapt and embrace new technologies in order to remain competitive. In this beginner’s guide, we will explore the top 12 technology trends that small businesses should focus on in 2018.
1. Mobile Site Performance: Optimizing for Success
Small businesses must prioritize mobile site performance in 2018. With the introduction of Google’s ‘mobile-first index,’ where mobile site performance is a key factor in search rankings, it is imperative for businesses to ensure that their websites are mobile-friendly and load quickly. By focusing on mobile site performance and usability, businesses can attract and retain more customers, leading to increased visibility and success.
2. Embracing Blockchain Technology: Exploring New Possibilities
With the rise of cryptocurrency and the increasing interest in blockchain technology, it is important for small businesses to understand and explore the potential applications of this technology. By harnessing the power of blockchain, businesses can improve security, transparency, and efficiency in various aspects of their operations. It is crucial for small businesses to keep a close eye on this technology and consider how it can be integrated into their own business strategies.
3. Automation: Revolutionizing Small Businesses
Automation has emerged as a game changer for small businesses. By automating various aspects of business operations, such as marketing, project management, finance, and human resources, businesses can streamline processes, improve efficiency, and achieve greater productivity. The best part is that automation has become increasingly cost-effective for small businesses, providing a quick return on investment.
4. Virtual Reality: Engaging Customers in New Ways
Virtual reality (VR) technology is predicted to take off in 2018, presenting small businesses with new opportunities to connect with their customers. By creating immersive experiences through 360-degree videos, businesses can allow customers to explore products and services before making a purchase. This technology can also be used to provide a taste of unique experiences or services, enhancing customer engagement and driving business growth.
5. Artificial Intelligence: Unlocking New Capabilities
Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer limited to tech giants like Google. With the increasing affordability and accessibility of AI technology, small businesses can now leverage its power to drive real business results. Whether it’s chatbots for customer service, data analysis for informed decision-making, or smart lead generation, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way small businesses operate. Machine learning, a subset of AI, is also a key component to consider for businesses looking to gain a competitive edge.
6. Influencer Marketing: Harnessing the Power of Word-of-Mouth
Influencer marketing has proven to be a highly efficient and effective way for businesses to increase awareness and drive more business. By leveraging the influence of individuals with a strong online presence, businesses can tap into their audiences and build brand credibility. In 2018, we can expect to see more businesses embracing influencer marketing as a key strategy for growth.
7. Google Attribution: Gaining Insights and Adjusting Strategies
Google Attribution is a tool that will help marketers gain a better understanding of cross-channel and cross-device attribution. By providing more precise and confident insights, businesses can make informed decisions and adjust their marketing strategies accordingly. This tool will be particularly beneficial for small businesses looking to optimize their marketing efforts and maximize their return on investment.
8. Chatbot Technology: Enhancing Customer Support
Small businesses can now leverage chatbot technology to provide 24/7 customer support at an affordable price. By integrating chatbots into their websites or landing pages, businesses can facilitate online conversions and drive more business. It is important, however, to maintain a personal touch and use chatbots to supplement, rather than replace, human interaction. Chatbots can be a valuable tool for small businesses to compete with larger chain businesses that can afford round-the-clock support.
9. In-Store Retail Software: Transforming the Retail Landscape
As the retail landscape continues to evolve, small businesses can adapt by utilizing software that tracks data within their stores. With the help of sensors and advanced software, businesses can now track impressions, conversions, and customer behavior in-store. This data-driven approach, previously limited to online platforms, enables small businesses to make informed decisions and improve the overall customer experience.
10. Video: Captivating Audiences
Video has become a dominant form of content in today’s digital world. Small businesses need to catch up and embrace video as a powerful tool for brand awareness and customer engagement. The good news is that you don’t need fancy equipment to create videos – your mobile phone is enough. Apps like iMovie, Splice, and Quik allow you to edit videos on your device, making it accessible and cost-effective for small businesses to jump on the video bandwagon.
11. Instagram Ads: Authentic Marketing Opportunities
With Facebook expanding placements on Instagram, small businesses can now reach their target audiences through both feed ads and Instagram stories. In 2018, we can expect to see more innovative ad formats on Instagram as businesses strive to connect with users in a more authentic way. By being genuine and building a real connection with their audiences, small businesses can leverage Instagram ads to boost brand recognition and drive business growth.
12. Social Payments: Simplifying E-commerce
The introduction of social payment systems, such as Apple Pay Cash, Google Pay, and Facebook’s payment system, is set to transform e-commerce and other types of business transactions. Small businesses can take advantage of these convenient and secure payment options to sell products and services online more easily. As social payments gain popularity, it is crucial for small businesses to adapt and provide their customers with seamless and hassle-free payment experiences.
In conclusion, small businesses must stay up to date with the latest technology trends to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced business world. By focusing on mobile site performance, embracing blockchain technology, leveraging automation, exploring virtual reality, harnessing the power of AI, utilizing influencer marketing, gaining insights from Google Attribution, integrating chatbot technology, utilizing in-store retail software, embracing video content, leveraging Instagram ads, and adopting social payments, small businesses can position themselves for success in 2018 and beyond.