People in all walks of life are more in touch with one another thanks in part to the exponential development of digital and portable technology. Mobile devices have more or less turned into portable computers, with the phone - its original function - falling to the wayside for internet connection and application usage. The consumer is better connected to the business, companies can now better understand their clientele, and neither party can seemingly get enough of technology.
Keeping that in mind, here are four statistics on how technology and social media have changed small businesses for the better:
According to recent comScore™ data, 173 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones in July 2014, which accounted for nearly 72 percent of the nation's mobile market penetration. As a result, small businesses have had to change or alter entire operations to meet various customer demands. For instance, some small businesses have had to implement mobile-friendly websites and ecommerce platforms, while others may have focused on sending targeted email campaigns to clientele. The smartphone has dramatically changed the way people communicate with the world around them, and businesses have had to adjust accordingly.
2. Online networks
Social media and various online networks are often praised for connecting people like never before. Adult internet users in the U.S. have gravitated toward social platforms for various reasons, but there's little arguing a majority of American consumers use some type of social media on a regular basis. The Pew Research Center™ found 71 percent of all adult internet users are active on Facebook® . Social platforms aren't exclusive to young adults anymore, either. Pew™ added that 56 percent of those aged 65 and above were on Facebook in 2014, up from 45 percent of the same demographic in 2013.
Online networks have dramatically changed how small businesses operate. In terms of consistent customer communication, many small businesses have worked to establish an online presence to better interact with clients and share engaging content. Building an online brand can greatly help how clients perceive a company. A recent LinkedIn® survey found more than 1 million SMBs were using social media to some extent in 2014.
3. Mobile point of sale terminals
A recent Mobey Forum™ white paper projected mPOS systems will reach 46 percent of market penetration within the next two years, a dramatic increase from the 17 percent penetration rate in 2012. As consumers continue to embrace alternative and easy-to-use payments, businesses work to keep pace with these demands. The result of which is many local merchants adopting cutting-edge mPOS terminals and the robust back-end capabilities these services provide.
The upgrading process to new and improved mPOS systems for small-business owners provides potential to grow their business, which may explain why local merchants are receptive to adopting this new technology.
4. Mobile contactless payments
Although Apple Pay® and other forms of mobile contactless payments were recently released, mobile contactless payments could take the retail and restaurant industry by storm in the near future. In fact, over the next six years, mobile proximity payments are expected to reach nearly $5.5 billion by 2018, a recent industry report said.
Certainly, merchants will have to upgrade point of sale systems to comply with Near-Field Communications technology if they wish to take advantage of it. As mobile technology continues to develop and alternative payment acceptance continues to rise in popularity among everyday consumers, small businesses may open to adopting this technology.