Technology and smart marketing is making it easier for small businesses, particularly retailers, to compete against bigger competitors.
During 2012, there were many changes in the retail landscape, including the proliferation of smartphones driving mobile commerce, and the emergence of small businesses as global players.
As all smaller enterprises move forward in 2013, they should be aware of trends that will shake up the industry in 2013.
According to Fred Lizza, CEO of Dydacomp, “Small can be Mighty.”
He argues, “Small business leaders have become much more tech-savvy, and with the power of technology at their fingertips, they can now reach consumers on a global level. This will ultimately give small businesses greater insight and ownership of the market.”
Here are some of the ways Lizza believes technology is helping smaller enterprises compete more effectively.
- Smarter Back-end Businesses: Retailers and merchants have recently spent a significant amount of money and investment on building up their online store fronts, giving them multiple sales channels, greater market reach and increased growth.
Tools like multichannel order management systems and business intelligence reporting and dashboards have become a necessity to help the small or mid-sized business manage and maintain this growth. They enable business owners to be savvier when it comes to managing their back office.
This increased focus on their back end fulfillment systems will enable retailers and merchants to see trends and address issues earlier than ever, and see a unified view of their business across all channels. The trend toward the adoption of cloud-based solutions will provide small business owners with a wider variety of smart tools at an affordable price, offering anywhere, anytime access. Business owners will look for vendors with cloud-based solutions that will help them manage their entire back-end business – from real-time dashboards to dynamic reporting.
- Continued growth of the “Connected Consumer:” Gartner Research recently predicted that mobile devices will soon surpass PCs as the top device for accessing the internet.
As smartphone and tablet adoption continues to rise at a rapid rate, consumers expect the retailers they buy from to keep up with their mobile needs.
A recent IDC study found that ‘showrooming,’ or comparison shopping on a mobile phone while shopping in a store, will increase by 134 percent this holiday season compared to last year. With 20 percent of consumers planning to showroom, IDC predicts this will influence between $700 million and $1.7 billion in retail purchases.
- Loyalty Programs Made Easier: In order to remain competitive, retailers will have to re-examine their loyalty programs and special offers, and ensure that they are prepared to compete on price. In addition, business owners will need to have accurate insight into their current prices and inventory to manage change in real time. New technologies and offerings are making this goal easier to accomplish.
As these trends continue into 2013, multichannel merchants will need to evolve with the times in order to remain competitive. If they take the time to understand today’s consumers and take advantage of the latest technology, they’ll have huge opportunities for growth in the coming year.
Fred Lizza is the chief executive officer at Dydacomp, a provider of business technology platforms for small and mid-sized eCommerce and multichannel merchants. He can be reached at email@example.com.