Michael Plummer, Jr. is President/CEO/CTO of Our Town America, the nation’s premier New Mover Marketing franchise.
Staying abreast of the latest technology can help franchise businesses thrive and build a loyal customer base.
Being tech-forward is an important component of any successful business. Using the latest technology can help all aspects of your business, from employee productivity to how you communicate with customers. It may seem like every time you turn around, a new social media app or technology upgrade is making a debut. Knowing all the latest tools of the trade can be overwhelming for any small-business owner. Being tech-forward benefits your small business by allowing you to:
1. Stay Competitive
Using new technology can help your business stay competitive and prevent you from missing new opportunities. New marketing technology is key to adding loyal customers. For example, years ago, my organization, Our Town America, added a digital enhancement to our new mover marketing lineup. We knew customers would appreciate having the ability to scan their tangible marketing offer at the point of sale, so we added a 2D barcode — allowing businesses to track redemptions, gather detailed information on their new customers, analyze trends and even send a second follow-up mailer. This update paved the way for our industry and increased our response rates by a landslide.
2. Improve Communication
Being tech-forward can help improve your business’s ability to communicate with customers on the platforms where they spend their time. This improves their customer experience and encourages them to be repeat visitors. The latest technology can make payments a breeze and navigating your business online much more simple.
3. Streamline The Back Office
Technology is constantly evolving to help streamline employee payroll, schedule management and benefits. Implementing new technology to help save you time and money is a no-brainer for harried franchise owners. It will help improve your work-life balance and prevent you from making costly errors. Technology can also help to increase security and keep proprietary information private.
Tips On Being Tech-Forward
Now it’s time to tackle the next hurdle — how to stay on top of new technology. A technology consultant can help your business keep up with the latest tech trends, but it can be a costly venture for small-business owners. Here are some grassroots solutions to help your business stay tech-forward:
• Upgrade: Conduct annual technology upgrades to your business plan. Setting aside funds to upgrade in-house technology such as printers, phones and point of sale systems will help you stay prepared.
• Go Mobile: We live in a connected world where smartphones are more like personal computers than simple telephones. Nearly half of Americans spend an average of five to six hours on their smartphones each day, not including work-related use, according to a survey of 2,028 people conducted in February by Statista. Given these staggering numbers, it’s abundantly clear your business should consider creating a mobile app (and regularly release new updates and features). Make it a priority to stay connected with what your competitors do with their mobile technology so you don’t fall behind. A quick weekly scan will go a long way to keeping you in touch with new developments and services your app may need to implement.
• Tie-In Technology: As you develop new products and services, make sure to add technology to the launch. Whether it’s using a social media influencer to tout your newest offering or hosting an online contest, making sure your new product has a technology tie-in is a great way to stay tech-forward.
Staying On Top Of Technology
Franchise owners have the opportunity to leverage the latest technology to upgrade their business. Some franchisers can rely on their parent company to roll out technology initiatives, which can help relieve some of the burden on business owners.
As technology continues to evolve, small businesses can benefit by staying on top of the latest trends and initiatives to add loyal customers.