How Technology Can Help You Increase Sales
Even if your business has virtually nothing to do with technology, implementing a little here and there can work wonders in boosting your overall sales. Customers are more used to a digital, high-tech world, and while this does not mean you have to over-complicate your business, it does mean your customers will come to expect a customer experience that comes with the ease of a technology-backed business. Here are some examples of how technology can increase your sales.
Social media is the key to building relationships with customers and showing personal insights to your business that will make your customers feel more personally connected to you. Customers who feel that they can relate to the information you post on social media whether for useful value or for comedic entertainment and who have also have had a two-way interaction with any of your social media’s accounts feel more appreciated and connected to your brand, and therefore are more likely to stop by and become a customer.
Example: This Napa Valley winery partnered with complimentary brands through social media, rewarded loyal social media followers, and educated their audience through social media outlets to create a loyal following and drastically increase sales.
If you’re running a small business, you may not have updated your checkout technology or may even be running on a cash-only basis. Adding technology as simple as Square (a card reader that can plug directly into a smartphone or tablet) can cut out some of the manual process which means more time focusing on more important aspects of the business, more customers coming through (many people don’t carry cash anymore), and less room for mistakes. This technology even comes with free Point of Sales software app for an easy system at a minimal cost. This technology is perfect for making sales on the go and the iPad can even be set up at the countertop taking up much less space than a traditional POS system. Smaller business who do not have the means to partner with major credit card systems for POS systems can stop turning away customers who do not have cash (and let’s face it, many customers don’t carry cash with them consistently).
In most cases introducing more technology into a business means more efficiency, greater productivity, and a decrease in unnecessary costs and manual energy. For example, using a free employee scheduling solution will greatly reduce the amount of time both managers and employees are spending dealing with the schedule. By using technology to save time and energy, employees can focus more intently on providing customers with an excellent experience or getting more productive work done to finish projects, save money, and ultimately increase sales.
Introducing a Card System or an App
Customers love using money-saving technology whether it’s a gift card system (think of Starbuck’s successful customer card system) or an app that gives out coupons and deals. While these come with an initial cost, customers like feeling like they are saving money, even if it means they’re actually making more purchases and therefore spending more money. Plus, giving your customers “exclusive” card memberships makes them feel appreciated, special, and more invested in your company, which ultimately makes them want to come back again and again meaning higher sales.
Web and Mobile Platforms
A website is basically a necessity for a successful business. These days customers love to check up on a business online before they go to check it out, whether that means previewing the menu, checking out the reviews, or seeing if there are any specials or events. Investing in a good website that fits the needs of your customers will drive more traffic to your store and keep your business feeling current and approachable. And don’t forget to make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices, as many consumers spend much of their browsing time on their phones or tablets. In addition to gaining information about a store before they visit it, many customers prefer online shopping. If it fits for your company, consider creating an online shopping cart system so customers can buy your products online and have them shipped straight to their door (this can also expand your customer scope outside of just the neighborhood of your brick and mortar store).
More Knowledgeable Employees
Employees who can quickly and easily look up inventory stock, product information, and order statuses appear more knowledgeable and gain trust with customers who ask questions during their shopping experience. According to a survey by Red Ant, 85% of store staff said their performance, and sales, would greatly improve if they were provided with mobile devices that could help them dispense accurate product or inventory advice. In fact, according to research from BizReport, 20% of customers claimed to use their mobile phone while in the store to figure out information rather than asking a store employee because they figured it would be faster and more accurate.
Enable Mobile Payments
Whether it’s buying a product online, renewing a membership or subscription online, or reloading a gift card via mobile device, enabling mobile payments increases sales by enabling more spontaneous purchases, receiving prompt payments rather than dealing with a billing or invoicing system, and eliminating instances of bounced checks.
Provide Free Wi-Fi
Make your store compatible from internet users to encourage customers to stay longer and come back more frequently. Even if your business is not one compatible with staying for long periods of internet usage, enabling wi-fi will encourage customers to share through social media when they are at your business as well as leave reviews for your business while they are there, creating more interest for their friends and followers to check it out as well.
Have you implemented new technology in your store and seen sales rise as a result? Share your experiences in the comments section below.