Traditionally, technology or a Knowledge Management System wasn’t something which was heavily considered by small businesses. When first released, the price of fully functioning websites, cloud integration, and mobile applications saw them reserved solely for big businesses with big budgets. However, as these services quickly became more affordable, small businesses discovered they were now in a position to not only compete, but put up a good fight.
Location Aware Searches
The first tool to be used was location-aware searches. This tool was handed to small businesses thanks to cell phone manufacturers by way of inbuilt GPS tracker radios. This turned almost every cell phone into a location aware device. Combined with the proactive nature of search engines, small businesses such as gyms were able to purchase location aware keyword searches. This meant that when a user was in proximity of a local gym and simply searched for the word ‘Gym,’ their service would be prominent displayed.
The introduction of smartphones radically changed the way that users interacted with their mobile devices. Large companies were quick to jump on this high level of functionality by building experience rich apps for their customers to interact with. However, with the release of easy to understand developer tools, small business owners realized that they were able to create their own apps. While these offerings may not sit at the same level of functionality offered by big business, they often didn’t need to. A simple app to manage customer loyalty points and provide directions was enough to satisfy mobile app users.
There is one thing which big business has always struggled with; connecting with their customers on an emotional level. With operating staff, low-level managers, high-level managers, and head office executives, customers are too removed to establish a connection. This was an area where small businesses thrived, however, was not one they were able to continue once the customer left the store. The social media boom changed this. With a social media presence, small businesses were, and are, able to continue the connection with customers by way of social media interactions. When a customer interacts with big business on social media, the connection gap exists because the person at the other end is bound by scripts. However, with small business, the person on the other end is the very person they were speaking to before leaving the store.
Nobody can deny that big businesses benefit from technology, and were once the dominant players. However, to discount the benefits which small businesses reap from embracing technology is just bad business.