From Main Street to middle market businesses and beyond, technology is an undeniable force. The question is not whether to adopt new technologies, but rather how? In this article, we’ll examine what businesses across the globe are doing to leverage rapid technology developments. More importantly, we’ll examine how technology can revolutionize your own business.
According to Entrepreneur, a report by Mobile Payment World states that there will be 150 million mobile payment users by 2020. For customers, a wallet-less future is appealing.
For businesses, the benefits of adopting mobile payments are just as appealing. The Entrepreneur article goes on to claim that the use of mobile payments can lead to better cash flow management. Mobile payment systems keep their own records of transactions, meaning businesses can spend less time on bookkeeping. Thus, reducing overhead costs.
Plus, according to Business.com, mobile payment options reduce business liability when it comes to security breaches. Smartphones can easily verify a customer’s identity through a fingerprint scanner. Also, merchants are no longer exposing their customers to potential credit card skimmers. Lastly, businesses that use their own mobile payment app can increase customer loyalty.
The Starbucks app is a prime example of increasing customer loyalty through a mobile payment option. The app links mobile payments to the Starbucks customer loyalty program. It’s a huge success and has more users than both Google Pay and Apple Pay.
For businesses looking to follow Starbucks lead in adopting mobile payments, analyzing user engagement and responding accordingly is key. Adopting mobile payments shouldn’t be an end in itself, but a process that leads to better customer engagement, higher sales or increased operational efficiency.
Real-Time Business Analytics
With real-time business analytics, there is no delay in accessing the most up-to-date data and incorporating that information into business decisions. According to Select Hub, at least 75 percent of retailers plan on using real-time predictive business analytics by 2021. Specifically, retailers are using real-time predictive business analytics for better pricing and loss prevention.
Iguazio reports that the Sri Lankan transportation startup, PickMe, utilizes real-time business analytics for creating heat maps and fraud detection. As a result, the PickMe service is continuously optimized for both drivers and riders. According to RT Insights, the U.K. supermarket Tesco aims to use real-time analytics to predict food demand and reduce food waste.
Before the internet, the only interaction between businesses and their customers was in person or through the phone. Today, thanks to emerging technologies, businesses and customers can interact through social media, text and chatbots at any time. Businesses could share everything, including product launches, discounts, fun videos and staff pictures. The limitless communication creates an opportunity for businesses to reach the mass market.
Plus, social media quickly amplifies businesses’ reach through shared, viral content. As a result, businesses not only provide easy to access customer service and technical support, but they also cultivate brand loyalty through use of digital channels.
For instance, according to MXTR automation, the public transportation company Next IT answered 5 million customer inquiries a year and increased their bookings by 25 percent with the help of chatbots.
Businesses are also interacting with their customers via mobile SMS. According to Text Local, almost 50 million consumers will choose to interact with businesses through SMS.
The rise of cloud computing and cloud-based applications allows businesses and customers to retrieve data from anywhere as long as there is internet. This phenomenon allows businesses to cut operational costs on software by leasing from the cloud. More importantly, cloud computing has revolutionized how businesses collaborate.
Through the cloud, businesses are able to quickly assemble remote teams and onboard them onto existing workflows. The term remote sales office or remote newsroom is not uncommon. These remote offices cut costs, as businesses no longer have to invest in dedicated office space for each team member.
In addition to cutting costs and improving collaboration, SysGroup reports that businesses are turning to the cloud for increased security, faster development and reduced risk. If your business wants to exploit these benefits, consider a hybrid cloud approach.
A hybrid cloud approach combines the use of a public cloud, a private cloud and a traditional dedicated hosting service. This allows businesses to utilize each service according to their capabilities and security needs. It also allows businesses that are new to cloud computing to avoid putting all their eggs in one basket. Instead, businesses can keep their traditional hosting service while subscribing to cloud services on an as-needed basis.
VR isn’t just for the die-hard gamer willing to invest in an immersive gaming experience. VR is already making small splashes in the business world. As we learned from VR Insights, VR is a worthwhile investment, especially for businesses in the automotive, construction and retail industries. In the retail space, VR allows customers to experience and customize products in virtual reality before purchasing.
According to Business.com, Lowes experimented with this VR application with its Holoroom. In the Holoroom, customers were able to design spaces using a selection of Lowe’s products. Then, with the help of an Oculus Rift headset, they were able to experience their new room in virtual reality. However, can this type of VR experience replace the physical shopping and showroom experience? Well, Business.com goes on to claim that half of the customers who tried out Audi’s London VR experience purchased a vehicle without conducting a real-life test drive. This is a sign that when VR is done right, it can be a powerful experience for consumers and a game-changer for your sales team.
However, VR isn’t just about a flashy sales experience. Across numerous industries, businesses are training employees through VR. For instance, TechRepublic reports that Walmart is using VR for compliance and customer service training.
The use of 5G, developments in 3D printing, and of course, the continuous evolution of blockchain will further revolutionize the business world. However, the technologies listed above are already tested and proven by companies like Starbucks, Walmart, Lowes and Audi. Any business hoping to leverage technology to outpace the competition and revolutionize their own business should consider integrating the technologies listed in this article.
Interested in the brands that are already pushing the edge on technology? Get ready to be amazed!