In 2012, many small businesses found it advantageous to adapt and use new technologies and 2013 promises to be another year of innovation that will bring more business applications and trends to the small business marketplace.
Increased Smartphone Use
As the smart phone becomes more ubiquitous than ever (thanks in part to the introduction of the iPhone six years ago and now Android and Windows Mobile), more people will be conducting business via their cell phones. In addition, more consumers are using their mobile devices to conduct transactions. According to Smallbiztechnology.com and Advertising Age, “…mobile payments will total around $1 trillion by 2014, up from $162 billion in 2010). Mobile will continue to play a big part in consumers’ lives and small businesses can leverage an advantage in this area.” Smallbiztechnology.com notes that mobile marketing applications can connect businesses with consumers to “…when and where they are ready to buy…whether through SMS/MMS, push notifications, in-game mobile marketing or QSR codes… small businesses can provide customers personalized information that will ultimately influence their buying decisions.”
Social Media Marketing
In 2012, more small businesses began to take advantage of social media platforms as a way to promote their business. In droves, small businesses created Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter business accounts as well as looked to new social media forums as Pinterest as ways to market their companies. In 2013, we expect social media usage to increase. Smallbiztechnology advises small businesses to consider leveraging social networking sites such as “…to engage your audiences as a part of your overall business strategy to not only effectively communicate what’s new with your business, but also to directly help drive sales.” According to Intuit, Facebook user-engagement research by Buddy Media, publishing your posts between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. is a key factor in increasing “shares.”
The cloud was once purely a technical term that only the IT geeks were aware of. Thanks in part to technical giants such as Google and Microsoft, the term cloud is now a popular nomenclature. The cloud refers to online services that store your local business data in remote servers. If that sounds too technical – just think of the cloud as services you pay for “online.” Today many applications, once only available to the deep pockets of larger companies, are now affordably available to smaller businesses. For only a few bucks a month, small businesses can use sophisticated cloud services such as customer relationship management (CRM) and accounting and financial solutions. Taking advantage of these cloud-based applications will help you organize and grow your business. These applications will increase in number in 2013 and have become more secure as new technologies are introduced. According to a recent article in Small Business Computing,”…providing employees with a secure set of cloud accessible applications…will give you a clear audit train and you can spend less time worrying about security and more time on strategic differentiators.”