The spread of COVID-19 has touched most industries, and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are no exception. One of the common issues exposed within SMBs by the pandemic is the growing gaps between organizations that have invested in technology when times were good, and those that have put off the adoption of digital solutions.

The importance of future-proofing your SMB has never been as important as it is now. Technology is proving to be key for businesses hoping to survive with new social distancing restrictions and stay-at-home orders.

The good news is that the investment in technology now will not be wasted when we no longer live under the limitations put in place for the pandemic. And, any customers that you do capture this time will likely stick with you, making the implementation of mobile apps, user-friendly websites and CRM solutions a very sound investment.

Repeat buyers tend to spend up to 300 percent more than new customers. Although it may be a scary time to do something new, now is the exact time to shake things up. When SMBs are on the verge of going under, doing something different can be the thing that keeps your business going. While that’s good to know, it doesn’t make discerning what technology will have the most meaningful impact on your business any less difficult to navigate. With all the different types of technology out in the market, deciding what to integrate can be a daunting task, but a necessary one—especially at this moment in time.

A good place to start is any technology that gathers information on your customers. Understanding customer behavior is useful no matter what is happening in the outside world. Tracking customers online or via mobile app can help you make the most of your sales and marketing dollars.

A customized mobile application can even include an element of GPS to help customers navigate your facilities. If you have a retail store front, if you sell merchandise that requires travel to view (such as real estate) or if you utilize a warehouse for inventory, tracking customers during their shopping journey can be immensely helpful and cut down on frustration of locating items.

A few things worth tracking to tell if your mobile application or website is doing its job include:

  • Which pages are they visiting
  • How long are they staying  on any one page
  • How far they get within each page
  • When/why did they decide  to leave

There are many CRM solutions and methods for developing websites that will deliver the data needed to make informed business decisions. The data collected by a CRM or mobile application can provide businesses information about how to better uplevel their services, whether something is off-putting, or needs to be refined to give customers more or less information in order to make a sale.

The adoption of technology is giving companies a different avenue in which to interact with customers. The additional layer of personalization matters to customers, and in the new world order brought on by COVID-19, will impact how consumers/businesses spend their dollars.  Having an overview of customers’ behaviors and how it changes in reaction to news related to the pandemic, is going to be critical for companies now and in the future.

It is likely that people will not be the same and moving toward post-pandemic SMBs may need to adopt new tactics and technologies to remain competitive. Investing in technology provides actionable campaigns, gauges customer behavior and drives those much needed dollars to your business, which will help you come out of a crisis ready for success.

Jeanae DuBois is an accomplished marketing and branding leader with over 20+ years in the industry. Joining Shift3 Technologies in September 2019, Jeanae manages an integrated marketing team, focusing on in-bound and outbound marketing strategy, campaign execution, branding, client development, public relations, corporate events and internal sales enablement.

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