This term didn’t exist five years ago and now people are looking for these unicorns with large math backgrounds that enjoy data analysis. If you don’t have someone on your staff analyzing sales and business analytics, you’ll soon be drowning. Colleges have begun offering centralized studies around analyzing data. Accessibility to granular business data will continue to spread among all types of small businesses in 2015.
Smart Data equals Big Data
Companies who have gathered all of this data now have no idea what to do with it. There is a growing trend in understanding and contemplating that data to mold business operations moving forward. Like learning from customer feedback, the data helps business make smarter decisions, supported by hard facts and numbers.
Seamless, integrated systems
This year, small businesses will demand seamless integrations between all the applications they use. They want to have the capability to accomplish different tasks, but also be able to customize tools that fit them best. They want the freedom of al-a-carte platforms paired with streamlined integrations. They know these solutions exist, and will continue to increase expectations. Because of this, we’ll see a growing trend of better user experience and an increase in integrated online platforms.
Streamlined payment options
Payment processes are driving competition, which drives innovation. In 2014, there were huge advances with RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology and payments, which will only continue to expand throughout this next year. People used to be afraid of barcode scanners (think grocery stores that scan your food), and now it’s commonplace. With beacon technology and RFID, people will have such a significantly seamless shopping experience, it’ll be like walking out of a store without a checkout line. However, this technology and RFID will require customer behaviors to change, which will be the biggest challenge.
Personalization for customers
Same-day shipping is a race to the bottom for small businesses - everyone is going to lose. Where small businesses can win against big-box retailers are personalization options. They can communicate with customers in a way that big box retailers can’t. Notes, personalized messages, checking in with customers will become big for small businesses. Making customers feel really great about their experience when they make a purchase will set small businesses apart and drive customer loyalty.
Small to medium-sized businesses are perfectly poised to take advantage of these upcoming trends, because they tend to be a bit more experimental than big-box chain stores. As a business owner, staying ahead of these trends and implementing them quickly can help build revenue and customer loyalty.
Jake Gasaway worked in Sales and Management roles for CPG giants Philip Morris U.S.A. and the Campbell Soup Company for 12 years prior to co-founding Stitch Labs. During that time he worked closely with internal data teams that helped those businesses be more successful through the analysis of business trends and data. He has taken those lessons to Stitch Labs and now, with even more access to data than ever before, has helped build a team that is highly focused on data for both Stitch Labs and the customers they serve.