Consumers are adopting emerging technologies faster than ever, and that trend will continue. Look at the shift from the adoption of mobile phones to Facebook and Pokemon Go. The speed at which people are using new tech has jumped from over a decade to less than a month. From the time mobile phones became available, it took 12 years to gain 50 million users. Pokemon Go, the hit mobile app using AR technology, took just 19 days to have 50 million users worldwide.
Being ready to integrate new tech innovations can help businesses stay ahead of the game and remain competitive in our digital world. While new tech almost always offers a new function for consumers, there are just as many tools businesses can use to access the data gathered to make customer interactions more effective, valuable and to boost business operations efficiency.
A few emerging technologies that are being adopted by businesses in 2020 are virtual reality, IT automation, voice search, and VOIP telephones.
Virtual reality (VR) is most commonly seen as a device for video games, however businesses – small and large – can use it for a variety of purposes as well. It’s possible that new employees will feel traditional training methods can be boring or not engaging enough to learn the information well. VR can help.
In the clothing retail industry, new floor employees typically spend a few afternoons shadowing another employee to learn the ropes. They review display model books and practice transactions at the register over and over. Sure the new employee is learning, but the trainer is spending valuable time away from customers.
Instead of parading new employees around the store for days, they could be set up in the office or at home with a VR headset and their cellphone. Here they can practice taking virtual transactions until they get it right every time. Now the trainer has saved hours teaching and been able to help many more customers, bringing in more money during onboarding.
Even marketing has moved into VR with ads for new products and services promoted through the apps VR devices use to run. Businesses can now profit from a new customer interaction channel unlike anything else the customer has seen.
Small businesses are outsourcing and investing in IT optimization when they can’t afford to employ a full-scale IT department. Automation tools and programs help streamline workloads, maintain software, manage accounting and data, ensure security measures are running smoothly, and even aid customer service.
Optimization can be easily seen in email marketing campaigns.
When consumers need or want to purchase a product, they will most likely search on Google and spend a couple of days comparing products. Email marketing automation allows businesses to send customers tailored email messages related to the products they’re searching for along with any promotional deals, and continue following up to make that sale without a human employee ever having to type a letter.
IT optimization, outsourcing and automation tools enable small businesses to get back to doing what they do best – helping customers.
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Consumers are using voice search devices at an increasing rate. It’s estimated that over 50% of all online searches will be voice-based by the end of 2020. Many people are surrounded by devices with voice search capabilities; phones, computers, speakers, and home hubs create a network of devices that communicate and enable us to ask questions or shop for products in our homes and anywhere else we feel like it.
The move to voice search over traditional online searches is happening fast for small businesses especially. It’s important that they pay attention to how customers are trying to find products.
Data revealed by Search Engine Watch shows that voice searches are three times more likely to be locally based than text searches. Where’s the nearest gas station? When’s the next movie showing? These are questions that will return local business information.
How do businesses make sure they’re prepared for voice search?
The simplest answer is to do the things Google has been advising businesses to do for years. Claiming and maintaining a Google My Business account, and taking action to clearly state your business and product information online through search engine optimization.