There is often a perception that new tech can be hard or expensive to implement. But technologies have become increasingly simplified and user-friendly, so everyone can benefit from them regardless of age, physical ability or type of business. Here, we look at three ways you could elevate your business with tech, even on a budget.
When you’re selling online
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) offer exciting opportunities for small and medium businesses. Some real estate agents have adopted VR so that potential buyers can inspect a property from just about anywhere, as long as they have the internet. And some retailers are using AR to give shoppers the ability to see how an item could look in their home, which is especially relevant for furniture or other big-ticket items. Consumers can download the seller’s app, hold their smartphone camera to a space in a room and see a superimposed image of the item as it would appear in real-life.
There are many headsets and systems on the market – some costing hundreds of dollars – but that doesn’t mean you need to need to break the bank to try it out for yourself. For just a few dollars you can purchase a Google Cardboard – a foldable, disposable cardboard headset – that works with your smartphone, with a number of VR apps already available.
When you’re delivering a service
There is evidence that video content drives higher engagement than images on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. But now, as many Aussies are working remotely or from home, there is an even greater use (and demand) for video: to deliver a service.
Many fitness studios now offer online classes for members to practice at home and some restaurants offer cooking classes via online tutorials – the examples are abundant. A quality smartphone is all you need to get started and there are plenty of free resources available to help you take the first step, even if you’re camera-shy. Our tip is to sit down and plan a few of your videos in advance, so you can work to a structure or strategy as you find your groove and get comfortable.
When you’re making a transaction
Point of sale (POS) systems aren’t the clunky things that they used to be. With the proliferation of new technologies such as cloud-based software, coupled with smartphones and tablets, POS systems have become cost-effective, lean and easy to use. It’s not just bricks-and-mortar stores that have benefited from this democratisation: solo operators who sell their wares at market stalls and trade professionals working on-site can process customer transactions directly without insisting on cash only.
Cloud-based software in particular provides a less risky alternative to purchasing a one-off software license. Instead, a subscription-based pay-as-you-go model makes the latest and greatest software affordable for more small businesses. It’s easier to trial different options – often without the headache of lock-in contracts – and you never have to worry if you’re working with out-of-date software.
These technologies shouldn’t feel daunting or too complex, and once you get started you might be wondering why you didn’t dive in sooner. Whether it is hardware or software, there are cost effective ways you can make your business sing with the latest tech.
This article was originally published on June 6th 2017 and updated on August 20th 2020.