We’re already well into the fourth quarter of 2020, and it’s time to think about wrapping up this year on a high note.
However, as the business landscape evolves pretty quickly, it’s important to think ahead and start making plans for the next year. The expectations from 2021 will be high due to the fact that 2020 has been plagued by the crippling pandemic that has devastated numerous businesses and hurt a number of economies.
But luckily, we live in an age of high technology, meaning that the latest trends in this area can give SMBs a boost and mitigate the effects of this crisis.
Here are some of the trends that you should watch for in 2021.
Repetitive, manual tasks take up a lot of employees’ time and diminish their productivity, not to mention that we’re talking about low-level tasks that don’t significantly impact the bottom line.
And yet, they have to be completed.
Small business owners who want to boost the productivity and performance of their employees should think about automating all these mundane tasks. When it comes to small businesses, these tasks include appointment scheduling, data entry, customer support, and so on.
By automating these and many other tasks, you’ll allow your employees to focus on more complex, high-level, value-adding tasks that require creativity and critical thinking. For example, customer support reps have to deal with a lot of simple issues such as lost passwords or frequently asked questions.
Instead of that, SMBs should leverage AI-powered digital assistants that could handle several queries simultaneously, engage customers, offer solutions to their issues, and use the existing information to personalize every one of these interactions.
But, there’s an even more sophisticated kind of automation called “hyper-automation.” It refers to the use of different advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation to automate a variety of tasks.
Apart from the processes and tasks that can be automated, this concept also takes the level of automation into consideration. Hyperautomation means automating the automation itself by dynamically identifying business processes and building bots to automate them.
2) ANYWHERE OPERATIONS
According to Gartner, by 2023, 40% of organizations will adopt the anywhere operations model to deliver and blend physical and online customer and employee experiences.
Anywhere operations will leverage distributed infrastructure and cloud services in order to deploy business services. This way, it will support customers no matter where they are, as well as allow employees to work and access their business resources from anywhere in the world.
This technology isn’t new, but the current pandemic has additionally spurred it as it requires companies to make it possible for their employees to work remotely. Similarly, customers have also become remote due to social distancing and lockdowns so that products and services also need to be deliverable remotely.
3) DEEP ANALYTICS TOOLS
Small businesses, especially those in the manufacturing industry, have to handle massive amounts of data and make sense of them. Hiring a data scientist or outsourcing this task is pretty costly, which is why deep analytics tools will become indispensable.
This doesn’t refer only to straightforward reports such as conversion rates, website traffic, or how many items are there in your inventory. By leveraging this technology, you’ll be able to obtain a number of valuable and actionable insights into different aspects of your business that will allow you to optimize various important processes.
Deep analytics can help you identify pricing trends and gain a competitive advantage or interpret your manufacturing data so that you can improve your production quality control, for example. And what’s best, modern software doesn’t require you to be a technical user in order to harness the power of data-driven insights.
4) MOBILE ADS
Attracting and targeting new customers is one of the most important tasks of every small business.
Given that mobile accounts for 53% of web traffic worldwide, it’s evident that this communication medium is crucial for advertising efforts. In other words, the odds of potential customers seeing your mobile ad are greater than is the case for any other kind of advertising.
There are numerous ways to leverage this marketing tactic and expand your reach. Mobile ads can be displayed as banner ads embedded in mobile websites, mobile games, or free versions of downloaded apps.
Instagram allows you to create shoppable posts, which means that your customers can make a purchase without leaving the platform. All they have to do is tap on the ad, and they will be taken to a product description page on Instagram, from which they will be automatically forwarded to your business’ mobile website where they will complete the purchase.
These four trends will be big in 2021, and small business owners should tap into the power of new technologies in order to create new business opportunities.