Mention the word technology to many business people and you often get a blank, slightly terrified look in return…assuming they haven’t walked away. But as businesses learn to adapt to what entrepreneur and local Dallas celebrity Mark Cuban calls “The New Abnormal” more and more people are saying it is the businesses that learn to use technology that will weather the storm best and survive.
Technology is one of those all-encompassing words that means many different things to many different people. But whether it’s the cutting-edge technology of artificial intelligence or the much-easier-to-understand tech of email it all adds up to giving businesses the tools to deal with this difficult times.
We’ve pulled together a few of the more interesting – and often affordable – technological solutions now available to businesses today.
Yes, this one may not fall under the least inexpensive heading but you almost have to consider it a cost of doing business. More and more, the ability of your customer to see a product in the context of their own home or a particular setting is becoming a critical tool, whether the sale is made online or in-store. Wayfair, the online home furnishings site, was one of the early adapters of the technology to make this happen but the software to offer this service is now readily available at much lower costs than even a few years ago. Just like a Yellow Pages listing of 30 years ago, this is rapidly becoming a must for any business.
Store Traffic Indicators
We’ve all seen this on Google Maps listings for restaurants and entertainment centers, but the ability to tell potential customers how crowded your store is – both historically and right at the moment they are considering coming by – is now being extended to retail establishments. Neighborhood Goods, the Texas-based specialty retailer, is moving to offer such a service, saying, “This way, they can know exactly how empty the store is.” Funny how this is becoming desirable when not too long ago shoppers wanted to see a store with plenty of people to validate itself. And again, the cost of offering this through third party providers may be a lot less than you think.
RFID Comes Into Its Own
Businesses have been talking about RFID – Radio Frequency Identification – technology for decades but it was always a cost hard to justify as a tool to control and keep track of inventory.
Well, now it appears that RFID’s day has come. As businesses work to coordinate their in-store and online inventories, this is a technology that is up for the task. Fashion retailer Lululemon has made a major investment in RFID, being able to track its merchandise all throughout the supply chain pipeline. “How much cash can you get out of inventory that’s stuck in stores today?” asked one retail consultant.
Technology can be scary…but it doesn’t have to be.