Keep Your Competitive Edge through IT Solutions

Contribution by FedEx, an EO Partner 

For a competitive edge, entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to information technology (IT) solutions. In fact, a recent Forbes study claimed that “the 85 percent of small businesses that are planning to increase their technology investments are more likely to anticipate higher revenue.” You might feel like you can’t afford to implement all of the IT solutions on your wish list, but one thing is certain: You can’t afford to invest in nothing. Here are some IT tactics that can help your business:

Go Mobile: Every day, more consumers are shopping online through their mobile devices. According to cnet.com, shoppers in the U.S. who use smartphones and tablets made roughly US$25 billion in purchases in 2012, up 81 percent from 2011.

One way to make sure your company is capable of competing online is by focusing on the mobile space. Try these ideas for doing just that:

  • Your company website should be easy to view on desktop computers and smartphones. Try developing a “mobile-only” version, which might have less functionality, but still enables mobile users to interact with you.
  • In addition, you might consider developing your own mobile app that customers can download in order to contact you and place orders.

Consider Web Teleconferencing: Ensuring an easy and pleasant customer service experience is imperative for any growing small business. You probably already have the “basic” IT solutions in place, like your website, email system and e-commerce capabilities, which allow customers to make online purchases. But there’s one technology that can greatly expand your capabilities— Web teleconferencing. This tool enables you to talk to customers, employees and vendors in real time and in distant locations. You can find Web-based services for video and voice connections without buying any special equipment or paying exorbitant phone fees.

Explore the Analytics: When you can anticipate your customers’ needs and meet them efficiently, you become a trusted resource. One way to accomplish this is by employing an IT solution like Google Analytics, which lets you collect and analyze customer data. With this knowledge, you can understand your customers’ buying habits and make more accurate forecasts. In addition, you can target your marketing more effectively, speaking directly to your customers’ needs. For example, if someone only spends money on your service or product twice a year, you can develop marketing materials to reach them one month before they normally contact you, perhaps with a savings offer for being a loyal customer.

Regardless of how many virtual bells and whistles you implement for your business, it all comes down to your customers. So if you adopt the right IT solutions that help them better find you and get what they need, you’re off to a good start.

Categories: Best Practices

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