By Uzair Khan
The year of 2018 bought a boom of changing technologies with it. With technologies like AI, blockchain, and artificial intelligence big and getting bigger, there is no reason why small businesses should lag behind. The time is ripe to dig into the new trends and technologies that will possibly take your small business to heights you’ve always envisioned.
Without wasting any more time, check out the latest small business tech trends that you need to keep abreast of this year.
1. Instagram Stories
Instagram has created this typhoon that’s engulfing users into its mesmerizing story feature. Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month which means that small businesses which have a large chunk of their target audience on Instagram can leverage this in 2018.
Earlier the stories used to disappear in 24 hours, but starting this year, Instagram fixed that by providing the option of posting the story on the profile where it can stay forever. It is crucial for small business owners to leverage this momentum of 800 million users, created by Instagram, and make hay while the sun still shines.
2. Experiential Marketing
This year is all about creating memories and connections with your customers. Experiential marketing helps your brand stand out from the debris of other brands just by kindling a sense of emotion when the user sees your brand. Since it engages all five senses, the brand gets ingrained in consumers’ memories which in turn drives brand loyalty.
It is a popular misconception that experiential marketing is suitable for big brands and businesses only. Any business can use this for drawing maximum attention onto their brand. It can be in the form of product demonstrations, giving away free samples, trade shows, etc. The essence of experiential lies in building brand awareness through one-to-one connection with consumers. So find out what moves the emotions of your target audience and hit the nail right on its head.
Stepping out from the conventional cryptocurrency box, blockchain today has become more than just a buzzword. Small business owners can derive many benefits from blockchain technology. For starters, payments and transfers will become decentralized and thus will obliterate the role of intermediaries completely. Small business owners can save those bucks saved from no transaction fee.
Another benefit that small business owners can benefit from is the smart contracts. Coined by Nick Szabo in 1996, a smart contract is set of terms and conditions in their digital form. Some of the popular smart contract implementations include Ethereum, RootStock, Ripple, etc.
According to Open Cirrus, 83% of the traffic will be cloud-based by 2019. It’s time you should make use of the best cloud storage service solutions available to you today and take a dive into this revolution this year.
Cloud enables users to access data anywhere, anytime by just having an internet connection. Now, this is a very important aspect of any type of business owner be it small or large. With the kind of hustle that small business owners go through each day, the cloud provides convenience by providing data at the comfort of their tablets, mobile phones or laptops.
5. Artificial Intelligence
When we talk about AI and small businesses, we are mostly pointing towards the use of chatbots. Using chatbots for customer service will substantially smoothen the process of customer handling for small business owners. This will increase customer satisfaction and retention in the long run.
Even if we put aside chatbots, there are still many avenues for AI to fit into small business processes such as marketing, lead generation, etc. and give a seamless experience to both the customers and the owners.
Blindly following the trends as they come is never a good idea, but all small business owners must make an effort to stay informed. Every business has different requirements and a different customer base, so choosing the right technology for your small business will essentially determine how much success you derive out of these trends.