What Tech Opportunities is Your Business Missing?February 13, 2014 No Comments
Featured article by Jared Jacobs
Technology itself isn’t the savior of your business, but it can help bridge the gap between potential and reality. There will always be some opportunities missed in every business, but the best companies know how to let a little bit less slip through the cracks.
Make personal connections
Technology continues to shrink the world, making it easier and easier to reach your customers. Beyond the ability to reach customers at a segmented or even individual level, social media has allowed customers to have conversations with companies, humanizing the brand and fostering loyalty.
Social media sites have made it easier to hear the complaints of your customers, which has scared a lot of companies who feel that other potential customers might be discouraged by the complaints being voiced online. But action is a much better approach to the frustrations of your customers than trying to remain ignorant about what they are dealing with. Seeing what is being said is a blessing, even if it is a little unsettling.
Allowing customers to skip the sales process
Don’t slash your sales department, as many customers benefit from being walked through how your product or service best serves them, but there is likely a segment of your market that is very well-informed and knows exactly what they need and just want to be able to see the specs, get a quote, and place an order on their own schedule without a sales conversation.
One step to getting there is creating interfaces that let users customize solutions to their problems, such as letting a user enter the dimensions of a room to instantly get availability and a quote on different flooring options as they shop your site. Fashion sites are starting to explore technology that displays how different clothes would fit and look like on each customer, bridging one of the biggest obstacles facing online clothes shoppers.
Understanding the lifecycle of your customers
Being able to see the estimated value of each customer over their lifetime can help you prioritize different segments and services based on the value of customer that they bring you. It takes an investment in analytics software, but with this sort of analysis you might see that one of your lower profit items tends to acquire your best, long-term customers, and you can focus more on promoting this gateway product. Knowing what brings in your best customers, what they’re worth to you over their lifetime, what stimulates additional purchases, and what causes them to leave can revolutionize the decisions your business makes.
By now you may have heard of Target’s predictive model that could tell them a customer is likely pregnant before the customer knows, based on the purchase of two products, which allowed them so send relevant coupons to promote their products at a time when the customer is going to be spending a lot of money.
Predictive modeling through analytics also helps Amazon and other online retailers put products in front of you that you are likely to buy based on your purchase history, demographics, and/or other data points. Gathering and processing enough data points to make predictive modeling accurate requires significant computing power, which is fortunately, now, easily available through cloud computing solutions.
Creating a powerful, yet versatile back-end is just as important as all the ways technology is changing how you engage with your customers. Server virtualization and cloud computing are continuing to alter the traditional datacenter. Virtualization’s main contribution is through efficiency, by combing physical servers to get the most of each unit. While cloud solutions are a way to be able to quickly adapt to changing needs and grow your capabilities in direct proportion to your needs.
The culmination of back-end developments and the evolution of user interaction is custom solutions that allow for the ideal user experience. The combination of power and focus make tools like custom tablets for flight crews that can withstand the elements and avoid confusion, or micro kiosks that let shoppers extend the aisle infinitely to find exactly what they are looking for without bloating the inventory of each individual store.
Jared Jacobs has professional and personal interests in technology. As an employee of Dell, he has to stay up to date on the latest innovations in large enterprise solutions and consumer electronics buying trends. Personally, he loves making additions to his media rooms and experimenting with surround sound equipment. He’s also a big Rockets and Texans fan.
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