Technology is no longer out of reach for small businesses.
In reality, it is the best way to level the playing field between large and small businesses in terms of customer experience, as well as provide SMEs with a viable growth platform.
Small and medium-sized businesses see technology as the most important contributing element to their growth in 2016, according to a Barclays Organization poll conducted late last year, with 1 in 4 saying it will have a positive influence on their business.
When it comes to how SME retailer technologies versus larger firms, budget matters a lot.
Naturally, some solutions will be out of reach financially, but the advancement of cloud technology is making systems far more accessible. The bigger challenge, though, is making that investment pay off — tiny businesses just don’t have the financial flow to make mistakes.
So, how can SMEs in the retail sector discover the correct technology to help them grow their businesses at a low cost?
What are the business challenges holding back your growth?
Technology should never be used for its own sake; it must solve a significant business problem in order to earn a return on investment.
As a result, small firms must assess their most pressing difficulties in terms of customer interaction, operations, and productivity, as well as how they are affecting their growth.
This will provide a framework for prioritizing where the most change is required, allowing them to concentrate on the technologies that can solve the problem.
Which SME retailer technologies address these challenges?
Small firms must conduct extensive research to ensure a positive return on investment. If the issue is long lines during peak trading hours, for example, the solution may be to add a second point of sale – but is there enough room for a permanent till, or would a flexible point of sale be a better use of space?
Because it may be used in a variety of ways, mobile point of sale is a cost-effective choice for many small enterprises.
It can be used to improve one-to-one customer service by linking to shoppers’ loyalty accounts to collect points, or it can be used to increase conversions by syncing with inventory to describe stock availability if an item is not available on the shelf.
Which technology partner can offer the greatest support?
There will be several technology companies in the market offering acceptable solutions for the bulk of SMEs’ growth concerns. They must pick a partner who is best suited to their business requirements. There may be variances in the product itself that affect applicability – is it a cloud-based technology, for example?
It is far more cost-effective to run apps and devices in the cloud than it is to run them on-premises, and it is much easier to add new users, diagnose technical issues, and update software.
SMEs must also determine how successfully a potential partner can manage a project for their company.
Because a lack of in-house experience is one of the biggest barriers to digital adoption among small businesses, it’s best to partner with a provider who has a track record of success.
How will SME retailer technologies be integrated into working life?
Last but not least, emerging shops must consider how their digital investment will be used on a day-to-day basis to create returns.
The best piece of equipment in the world won’t help you develop if it’s underutilized or neglected by employees who don’t know how to use it.
To make retail technology cost-effective for SMEs, education and training are critical.
With 2022 shaping up to be an extremely difficult post-pandemic year, it’s no surprise that many online small and medium businesses (SME) are eagerly anticipating the start of the end-of-year sales season.
So, what exactly do these technologies entail? Whether a company is aiming to attract new website visits, convert new visitors, or retain existing consumers during a seasonal sale, it must focus on technology that can help in five key areas: data collection, acquisition, engagement, retention, and multichannel execution.
With the proper SME technologies in place, online SMEs can remove the uncertainty from their operations and concentrate on what matters most: increasing revenue profitably during the end-of-year selling season and overcoming the COVID-19 dilemma.
What’s next for these businesses?
The pandemic’s influence has been to alter the industry’s form and has accelerated the adoption of new SME retailer technologies.
Software Advice conducted a survey of 700 merchants and discovered some critical trends that speak to the industry’s future path.
The research identifies retailers’ top goals for the coming year as well as trends that will shape the future of shopping.
The adoption of new digital habits by both customers and retailers during the epidemic appears to be destined to continue into 2022 and beyond, according to the report.
Omnichannel is here to stay
At every point of the customer journey, from browsing/discovery to order fulfillment, omnichannel retail focuses on providing customers with a unified and frictionless purchasing experience across digital and physical channels.
“To compete today, businesses must have a coherent omnichannel strategy to fulfill the expectations of the newly developed client,” according to the report. “Providing a variety of communication and shopping channels is critical when it comes to adopting an omnichannel approach.”
Payments are changing
Customers conduct an online transaction and make installment payments over time rather than paying the full amount up front.
“In an increasingly congested ecommerce environment, providing flexible payment choices to satisfy consumers’ financial demands is becoming a fundamental and expected component of the purchasing trip,” according to the report.
“As retail behemoths like Walmart WMT +0.4 percent and Amazon embark on long-term ambitions for cryptocurrency, it’s not a question of if but when crypto will enter mainstream,” Software Advice says.
Small and medium shops should investigate the prospect of cryptocurrency-based payments and discover how they might benefit their business in this fast changing environment.”
In fact, half of the retailers polled have already implemented or are in the process of implementing bitcoin payment acceptance as part of their business, indicating that widespread adoption is well underway.
Social commerce grows in popularity
The process of selling things directly to clients via social media is known as social commerce. The entire shopping process takes place on the social media platform, from product discovery to research to checkout.
Seventy-two percent of the shops polled indicated they used social media for marketing, sales, and customer service.
“Ensure frictionless checkout on social media platforms,” according to a top suggestion from the research on getting the most out of social commerce.
When customers are ready to purchase your product, they want it to be as simple as possible. They are more likely to return if the checkout process is simple.”
The retail industry is investing heavily in retail technology in order to improve and enhance their consumers’ shopping experiences; small businesses should keep track of these changes to see which ones benefit their customers and their firm.
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