All businesses use technology in their day-to-day operations. Whether you run a small store or an online business, you use everything from the most basic technology like computers to more advanced technology like automation software.
Unfortunately, far too many small business owners purchase office equipment and don’t put any more time or resources into finding better solutions that can help them scale.
Yet, technology plays a vital role in business growth and efficiency, and learning small business trends can help you improve your business operations and increase sales.
Here are the latest technology trends in 2022 that will impact businesses.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI and machine learning have been trending topics in the last few years, but many small businesses don’t yet understand how they can help them.
As artificial intelligence becomes more understandable and mainstream, small businesses must find new ways to incorporate it into their business processes. From voice assistants to personalized customer experiences, AI can be used to improve all aspects of business operations and streamline everything from marketing to customer support.
AI can help small businesses automate manual tasks, helping to save time and money while ensuring employees can get more done in a single day.
In addition, using AI can save businesses time on tasks that aren’t enjoyable for employees while allowing those employees to free up their time to focus on tasks that can help the business grow.
If your HR professionals spend most of their days staring at computer monitors and inputting data, they’re wasting valuable time they could be using to find better ways to recruit top talent.
However, comprehensive human resources software can help small business owners better track employees and their needs, even allowing for employees to take care of internal HR processes on their own.
In addition, HR tech can better support remote teams to help small businesses that have teams throughout the country.
HR software is more than a way to store employee data. It can help improve employee engagement and remove time-consuming antiquated systems.
Shopping with technology
Shopping gets easier with the use of technology, helping to support the shift from shopping in person to shopping online and having contactless experiences and delivery.
For example, with mobile payments helping people avoid long shopping lines, businesses can increase sales while improving customer experiences.
Remote employee onboarding
HR teams have used the internet and other technologies to recruit employees for years, but they can now onboard team members remotely.
In addition, as more people make the shift to working from home and businesses continue to support working from home, technology allows businesses to onboard employees simply from wherever they are.
Unfortunately, remote employers often struggle to onboard new employees because training people without the right tools and technology is difficult. For example, without the ability to let people connect in person, it can be difficult for them to learn the ins and outs of the business and operations. Technology improves the onboarding experience to help plan it and ensure new employees can learn everything they need to do their new jobs well.
As remote work continues, companies must invest technology into helping new employees learn about the company and their new job.
When it comes to remote work, check out our nine tips for better managing your team and our 11 tips to be more productive when working from home.
While cyberattacks typically target large corporations with more customers, small businesses are at an increased risk of hacks because they typically don’t have cybersecurity solutions in place.
Many small businesses are at risk for data breaches, and with more information stored online, all businesses must improve their security.
Automation is an important business buzzword, but it’s something that, when implemented effectively, can improve business processes to help employees save time and improve the customer experience.
Small businesses can use automation throughout their companies, from marketing to human resources and even payroll.
Customer service automation can help streamline customer support and improve customer experiences to support major business initiatives.
In regard to automation, check out our guide on email automation, as well as our seven opportunities for social media automation that you might not have thought of.
Social media has been a popular technology for years. However, as social media marketing and advertising become more difficult for small businesses due to privacy policies and user concerns, influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular. Influencer marketing uses social media to reach new customers through popular thought leaders they follow online.
Consumers no longer fall for the same tricks; advertisements and intrusive selling no longer work on the savvy consumer. Instead, your customers are more likely to shop based on recommendations from an influencer they trust. Influencer marketing is a personalized way to engage with your target audience.
Influencer marketing requires tools, including social media and other software, to help you find and vet influencers in your industry.
Augmented reality and virtual reality
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are most talked about in the gaming industry. VR puts the user into a digital environment, while AR can be used to enhance the experience.
Many eCommerce businesses can use these technologies to help potential customers see how they’d look in clothing or accessories before they make a purchase.
However, VR and AR can be used in other business areas, including HR, to help in training, education, and marketing.
Chatbots are becoming more popular for many businesses, especially eCommerce shops. Using chatbots can help your customers complete purchases without speaking to a customer service representative.
Chatbots operate using AI to answer customer questions based on what they ask. However, chatbots aren’t always completely accurate, so businesses should still have someone available to answer customer questions when a chatbot can’t.
Chatbots are available any time of day to streamline customer support, which can improve customer experiences because they can get basic questions answered at their convenience.
AI chatbots can be used outside of the customer service department, too. For example, you can use chatbots in the onboarding process to help answer new employees’ questions without needing human intervention.
Chatbots are a big part of conversational marketing. See our eight tips to improve your conversational marketing.
In the past, many business owners had to rely on their experience to make important decisions.
Thanks to many tools and software available, businesses now have access to tons of data about their business, including productivity levels, internal data, and data on their customers. Data and analytics can help you understand your business and measure important performance metrics you can improve upon.
For example, in marketing, you can use data to determine how much it costs to earn a new customer, also known as a cost per acquisition (CPA). With this data, you can begin to find ways to reduce costs and increase your return on investment.
Not only that, but data analytics can help you learn about areas of the business that are bottlenecks to help you determine how to solve complex challenges and improve business efficiency.
Businesses can use technology to improve internal processes, earn more customers, and improve their relationships with consumers. However, many small businesses can’t afford to invest in every new and emerging technology trend.
So, instead, find areas of your business that can be improved upon through technology and start to research the different types of tools to streamline essential business functions.
About the author
Julia Olivas graduated from San Francisco State University with her B.A. in Communication Studies. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing and content creation. Outside of writing, she loves cooking, reading, making art, and her pup Ruby.