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Using technology to help your business thrive during COVID-19 and beyond
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rate at which everyone — individuals and businesses alike — has adopted technology. Those companies who are able to incorporate new technologies are more likely to survive the pandemic and succeed in the years to come.
The grocery retail industry is a great example of how the pandemic has brought significant shifts through technological adoption. This spring there was a huge uptick in demand for online grocery ordering and curbside pickup services. Although the acceleration of grocery eCommerce adoption by consumers had been predicted, it occurred much sooner and more rapidly than expected, and many businesses were not prepared. Those who responded quickly by adopting new technologies to support customer demands weathered the storm and are now well-prepared for the years ahead.
Here are some examples of how your business can use technology to survive the pandemic — and to continue thriving in the future.
- If you’re in sales… Dial up your efficiency and effectiveness by adopting digital tools that allow you to reach more customers without requiring in-person meetings. Video conferencing solutions such as Zoom, Teams, Webex or BlueJeans, to name just a few, are a great addition to your toolkit. Customer relationship management (CRM) software is also an essential digital tool for successful salespeople. CRM systems are compatible with any operating budget. For example, Flowlu, FreshSales, HubSpot, Really Simple Systems, Suite, V-Tiger and YetiForce are all available in free versions that have ranked well by reviewers.
- If you’re in retail… The ability to process contactless payments is virtually a requirement in the post-pandemic world. Consumers are also becoming more comfortable with higher tap limits. According to a study by Moneris, 40% of all transactions are now contactless transactions over $100. There are many options out there. Shopify put out tap-enabled hardware earlier this year that accepts a variety of payment sources, and the Square Reader also accepts tap payments, to name just two. Research your options carefully to find the costs and features that are best for your business.
- If you’re a community-based business… Whether you are a clothing store, restaurant, service provider, realtor, contractor or arts organization, be sure to engage your community through online channels. Keep your business hours updated on Google, for example, and add to your website a description of the safety precautions you’re practicing. Use social media to remind people you’re still operating, even if it’s in a limited capacity, and to showcase how you’re giving back to the community.
It can be hard to get started with change. The good news is that there are many free or low-cost tech solutions out there. Take some time to research the tools that are right for you, and spend time getting to know new apps so you feel confident using them.
Your efforts could pay off more than you imagine. While technology is constantly changing and improving, the businesses that tend to thrive over the long term are those that embrace technology.