In many ways, the technological developments of the past decade have been a great equalizer for small businesses. The type of marketing reach that was once reserved for huge firms is now available to anyone with an Internet connection, and even the smallest firms have access to the global marketplace. New developments have come at a rapid pace, granting advantages to savvy small-business owners who stay abreast of the latest tools.
Of course, 2014 will be no exception. Which tech trends are shaping up to make the biggest impact in the small-business community over the coming year?
Big Growth in Mobile Marketing
It’s no secret that catering to mobile device users has been the hot ticket in marketing lately. Those in the know say that the growth in mobile will keep gathering steam throughout 2014. During the most recent holiday season, mobile device users were responsible for 17% of all online sales, a 55% increase over last year’s numbers. And it is estimated that more than 73% of Internet users worldwide accessed the web from a mobile browser during 2013. Small-business owners who don’t take these numbers seriously and work to refine their mobile presence may find themselves left in the dust by nimbler competitors.
Decoding the Cloud
The cloud is not a new development, but for a many small-business owners, it has been little more than an inscrutable tech buzzword; we all know it’s a big deal, but what exactly is it? Many tech analysts are predicting that 2014 will be the year that small private-sector enterprises take to the cloud in a big way, jettisoning cumbersome and archaic systems for the elegance and simplicity of cloud-based SaaS. Effortless information sharing, the ability to easily locate documents, and the multitude of affordable, top-notch, cloud-based solutions for everything from CRM to project management will soon find eager adopters in the small-business sector.
Mobile Payment Solutions
It’s already happening in many forward-thinking retail spaces, and the trend is likely to spread. Soon, the old-fashioned cash register and credit card swiper may go the way of the dodo, as more small-business owners opt for svelte, user-friendly point-of-sale solutions. Small businesses can use smartphones or tablets to accept credit and debit card payments, often at rates competitive to those offered by providers of traditional merchant accounts.
Rich Content a Must
Small-business owners are getting hip to the fact that providing users with rich, easily-digestible content via social media and other online marketing avenues is the way to go. Videos, infographics, photos, and other engaging, shareable content will grow in importance over the next year, and businesses will strive to craft branding that conveys their messages in as few words as possible.
[Photo Credit: www.firmology.com]