As the Internet improves consumers' ability to access company products and information remotely, small companies should consider the avenues through which they do business. The brick-and-mortar storefront is still a necessity – especially for the companies that deal with goods and physical products – but the online marketplace is also a thriving place of commerce. Especially for businesses competing with large, ever-present corporations, the Internet is a powerful ally that can level the playing field.
In order to obtain and maintain a steady base of Internet-based clientele, small companies must take advantage of the latest trends and developments in mobile technology.
Mobile is the new meeting place
Companies shouldn't go closing their retail spaces quite yet – a physical presence can go a long way in establishing credibility and reaching local customers. But increasingly, consumers are turning to the Internet and their mobile devices to do their shopping and research products. Especially as the hectic shopping season approaches, many will rely on apps and mobile websites in order to avoid the hordes on Black Friday.
According to Huffington Post, mobile-based shopping will become the number one driver of e-commerce in 2015, reaching $30 billion next year and ballooning to $219 billion by 2019. The majority of usage will occur via tablet. To benefit from this expansion, businesses would be wise to build their own app or mobile website to allow easy navigation for their consumers.
Embrace social media
These days, one of the best ways to connect with people is through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, according to Business News Daily. The beauty of these channels is in their broad reach – a company's followers can do all the legwork by liking a post, sharing it and commenting on it.
Small businesses can capitalize on the social media movement to eliminate some expensive ad campaigns, reach more consumers and give the company a fresh, young image. As the holiday shopping months await, social media is a great way to alert customers about promotions and sales.
"Promote early and tailor scheduled communications to your audience," John Oechsle, president and CEO of Swiftpage, told Business News Daily. "Personalize your communication and offer the type of customer experience – online and offline – that will turn a customer into a long-standing patron long after the holidays are over."
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