Top 7 Small Business Tech Trends to Watch for in 2021
You might think that tech is only for enterprise-level businesses but there are actually software, automation, and machinery that are designed to help small businesses become more efficient and effective.
Doing something as simple as adding chatbot software to your website allows you to cater to customers 24/7, respond to inquiries right away, increase sales, and gain insight into your audience’s behavior.
Embracing technology in this digital age is more than just about helping your business survive. It’s all about equipping your company with the right tools so it can quickly respond to the ever-changing demands and expectations of consumers.
In other words, staying updated with the latest business techies crucial so you can serve your customers better. Doing so can make your business stand out, attract prospects, and expand your customer base.
In this article, we will share with you what tech experts and small business owners think are the biggest technology-related changes for small businesses would be this 2021.
What are the Top 7 Small Business Trends for 2021?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen how artificial intelligence transforms the way businesses operate today.
From retail to logistics up to customer support, AI has provided solutions that allowed businesses to become more efficient and effective in their respective industries. Although initially expensive, artificial intelligence has now become affordable for small businesses to adopt.
This 2021, AI remains to be a part of the top tech trends as it will be incorporated into new and existing processes and solutions that will be big this year, like voice assistants and personalized customer experiences.
Here are existing AI solutions that can help you run your business better:
AI-infused CRM allows you to identify and prioritize audiences that will most likely turn into prospects and paying customers. This can help you create more effective and targeted ads and boost your sales.
AI-powered chatbots can change the way you handle inquiries, provide support, and improve customer experience. It can respond right away to queries on your website, understand customer needs, push prospects further down the sales funnel, troubleshoot, and more. The best part about AI-powered chatbots is that they don’t take breaks and they can cater to several people simultaneously, allowing you to maximize every prospect on your site.
Streamline HR work
AI allows you to pull a shortlist of qualified candidates to interview by automatically screening and qualifying applicants. This can help you save time and money from manually interviewing every applicant.
According to Small Business Trends, 84% of small businesses still do manual tasks, like inputting data and inventory management. Statistics show that 55% of small businesses feel like 24 hours is not enough to tick-off all the to-dos in their list.
Using AI can make your business operations more efficient, allowing you to save time and take care of other matters that cannot be automated. If you want to do more with your business, AI is the key!
5G is the new global wireless standard that provides users access to super-fast data transfer speeds, a better and more uniform user experience, and improved network reliability. But how can 5G help your small business? Here’s how:
- Allows you to use AR, VR, and 3D for more effective and engrossing product presentations
- Allows people to stream videos, audios, and images instantly without any delay, which can help improve your communication with your customers and workers
- Boosts your website and app speed
- You can also equip your employees with low-power electronics running powerful analytics to provide high-quality service
- Allows you to use augmented reality to streamline your management and operations
- Allows your sales team to provide deeply engaging experiences for customers, improving their ability to sell
- It opens doors for new products or services that you can offer
- Allows you to collect high-quality, hyper-local, detailed data that you can use to improve your marketing efforts
- Allows you to understand the needs and wants of your customers in real-time
- Enables you to provide your customers a more personalized shopping experience
5G can help small businesses do more and be more! It is estimated that by the year 2024, there will be more than 1.9 billion 5G subscriptions worldwide (Statista, 2021). This 2021, you should consider using 5G because it will likely bring about a new era. You can start by updating the current tech you use for your business so it can help you take advantage of the new 5G!
Comprehensive HR Technology
Now that work from home is the new normal, it’s becoming increasingly important for small to medium-sized businesses to adopt a comprehensive HR technology that will help them monitor their employees and their needs.
According to a survey conducted by YouGov, here are the top 6 biggest challenges people experience working from home:
- Distractions from other family members
- Communicating with colleagues for tasks that require collaboration
- Finding proper workspace
- Managing time
- Difficulty focusing
- Technical issues
But before we proceed, you might wonder what HR tech is exactly.
HR tech is a broad term that includes the tool your HR manager will need to deliver a better employee experience. It allows your organization to store data, automate daily processes, and provide tools that facilitate better decision-making.
It also helps reduce human errors, preventing costly mistakes and maximizing productivity. Adopting centralized HR information systems will help you and your employees communicate better and be more productive.
If you’re already using HR tech, expect more upgrades this year, like total digitalization of processing, scheduling, and requests.
Performance management will also be real-time, allowing you to check in with your employees regularly. This can help them become more aware of their performance and you can be clear with your expectations.
HR tech also enables you to train your employees online and offline. If you haven’t adopted HR tech, start your digital transformation today and watch it help your organization be more productive!
Ever since the coronavirus outbreak, retailers had to rely on online shopping, delivery, and mobile payments to provide a contactless shopping experience to customers.
This 2021, we can expect this trend to continue with further improvements. Here are some eCommerce tech trends that is expected to boom this year:
According to the data released by NPR and Edison Research, more than 157 million smart speakers and voice assistants are present in American Homes.
This goes to show that Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa are increasingly becoming a part of people’s everyday lives. As the popularity of smart home devices continues to grow, we can expect more and more consumers to lean towards voice-activated payments.
It is predicted that by 2022, voice commerce sales will reach $40 billion (OC&C Strategy Consultants, 2018) and that early adopters of this technology will experience an increase in revenue by 30%.
Try integrating voice-activated payments
According to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, 73% of all customers use various channels during their shopping journey.
This gave birth to a multichannel approach to sales that aims to provide consumers a seamless shopping experience across multiple platforms. Using an omnichannel approach for your online store improves the way you gather data, boosts your sales and increases customer loyalty.
Augmented Reality Shopping Experience
Augmented reality will change the way consumers shop in the incoming years. It will not only provide a personalized shopping experience but also an engaging and engrossing one.
By offering AR in your app or website, you can gain a competitive advantage, enabling you to attract customers and make more sales. Companies like IKEA and Sephora have started integrating this technology to allow consumers to view their products and virtually try them out.
According to eMarketer, mobile e-commerce sales are expected to make up 73% of the total e-commerce sales. This 2021, you should also focus on making your online store responsive to mobile and tablet devices. You can start by building a progressive web app for your online store since they load faster. Then, implement accelerated mobile pages to cater to mobile users. Next, you should streamline your checkout process. Finally, test your mobile site regularly to check if it’s easy to use on mobile.
As people become more comfortable and used to this style of service, we can expect these trends to remain in 2021 and the incoming years. There’s a possibility that this will be the world’s new way of life soon.
More Automation for Small Businesses
As more and more small businesses realize the amount of time and money, they can save by automating manual tasks, this 2021, it is predicted that most of their budget will be spent on automation.
According to Omri Traub, CEO, and Founder of Popcart, he believes that small business owners will look at automation as a solution to problem areas and as a way to cut costs.
He believes that online pricing automation and inventory management systems are going to be two of the most important solutions small businesses should invest in.
It is expected that new companies will arise in response to these needs, providing affordable, automation solutions for small businesses.
More Influencer Marketing
According to Stackla, 86% of consumers consider brand authenticity when deciding which brands they like and support.
This 2021, you want to focus on creating content that highlights your brand heart, transparency, and the social causes you support. You also want to use a medium that this generation finds the most authentic to send your message to your audience and that is influencer marketing.
Find a blogger, YouTuber, or Instagrammer that most of your audience resonates with and collaborate with them to recommend or promote your products and services.
Capitalize on the statistic that 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations. It’s one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience and develop a niche within your industry.
More Social Media Advertising
Aside from influencer marketing, you also want to invest in social media advertising this 2021.
Social advertising remains to be one of the most cost-efficient and effective ways for small businesses to target their specific audiences. But first, you need to understand which social platforms most of your audience use.
Once you’ve identified what they are, you want to start creating unique and relevant differentiating content that engages your customers through these channels.
According to SproutSocial, after consumers follow a brand on social media, they will continue to engage in different ways.
This leads to 89% of consumers purchasing from that brand, 91% visit that brand’s site and 85% will recommend it to their friends and family. If you haven’t ventured into Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, TikTok Ads, and other social media advertising, 2021 is the best time to use it for your business!
Are You Ready to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level with These Trends?
Artificial Intelligence, 5G technology, HR tech, tech-assisted shopping, automation, influencer marketing, and social media advertising are the top small business tech trends you should look out for this year. Using them will put you ahead of the competition, generate more sales, and help your business grow.
So, don’t be afraid to invest in small business tech. Proper planning is key to ensure its smooth integration into your existing system or transition to a new one!