The saying goes: “The only constant is change.”
This is especially true when it comes to the evolution of technology and its impact on everything – especially on conducting business in this digital world in 2018.
Tech is even more difficult if you are not naturally a technical person or have the urge to stay ahead of all the top trends. But fear not – I got you!
This week I spoke at a corporate evening event where business owners asked what they should be looking at as far as their tech goes. Without being too granular, here are 5 tech tips that all business owner should consider in 2018:
Upgrade Your Website
It’s 2018 and I am still shocked at how many businesses still have their original HTML site that was “designed” in 2001.
Website design and functionality have changed so much over the years. In the past it was a no-no for a site to scroll “below the fold” (ie beyond what you can see as you open the website). It was then popular for websites to have sliders (ie those images that scroll and change automatically as you enter the website). Today it is common for a website to have no sliders and just to scroll down the page versus opening new pages.
Your website is typically the first thing your potential customers find – unless you are charging 2001 prices, its time to update the look and feel and functions on your site.
Offer Better Communications
How are you communicating with your customers? While some businesses still use the postal service (yes those exist), email seems to be the safe and traditional way.
In 2018, you should definitely be using live chat software to instantly communicate with customers that want to talk to you at the point of making a purchase decision.
Support for queries is also a great point to have live chat to help customers who want to be loved and not fill in yet another web form!
Launch An App
Does your business need an app? Perhaps. Or perhaps it just needs a great mobile experience when your customer finds your website. Or perhaps you need a web-app which is a hybrid of a website and a fully built native app.
Remember most people are mobile and want answers immediately no matter where they are in the world, so ensure you conduct global app testing on your website, app, web-app too. The less frustrated your customers are the happier they will be!
Working With AR and Voice
Augmented Reality (AR) has some amazing potential for businesses allowing even more interaction with customers and products and services. AR could be integrated into your marketing campaigns that not only shows off your business but also sends a clear message that your business is up to date with the latest and greatest tech.
Siri, Alexa, Google Home are being used more by more people around the world. Your business needs to have a voice strategy to ensure that when a customer says “When does <your business name> open?”, the voice assistant can look up your info and reply. If not, they will simply ask “When does <your competition name> open?” and you lose a customer.
Upgrading Your Stores
Finally, don’t forget your real-world-bricks-and-mortar stores. If you have a shop, you have the advantage of having the customer physically in your premises (vs. online which they could leave with a click). Perhaps look at injecting some tech into the stores too so they mimic online which is what customers are used to.
Online, customers can check out whenever they want to, however in store, they need to find a cash register station. During busy times in the store, when customers are forced to wait too long to make their payment, they get frustrated and abandon their purchases. Therefore it is critical to invest in tech that identifies trends in the store so your store manager is alerted BEFORE customers are ready to leave and open more registers or replenish stock that is typically sold out before customers arrive.
Having free WiFi in the store or the ability to price-scan a product via a cell phone are cool simple techniques that provide an overall better customer experience.