Technology has never been a more vital component for businesses of all sizes and industries. The challenge is often determining which technologies you should prioritise. Here’s what some successful business owners are doing to grow their businesses.
According to the chief technical officer at Cisco, if SME owners don’t incorporate technology into their businesses for the sake of the user experience, they face a real risk of losing customers.
Even if you do incorporate technology into your business, there are still plenty of factors to get right. It means nothing if a particular tool does not actually support your business; bring in technology too quickly where there was none before and you risk scaring off existing customers.
Justin McDonell, Anytime Fitness Australia
“Back in 2008 when we launched, you just literally had to have a website and you'd kind of be okay, whereas now you need it mobile-optimised and the consumers buying differently,” Justin explains.
Anytime Fitness Australia now uses a tailored training app, which allows its members to work out outside of the traditional hours worked by a personal trainer – or without employing one at all.
The result is that the business is better aligned to its main target audience of young, tech-savvy audience, who may not have the inclination, time or financial capacity to employ a personal trainer.
Kathryn Crooks, Credit Union Australia
Organising business-related travel can be a very costly and timely affair. Credit Union Australia had this realisation when its travel costs exceeded $1 million.
“Previously at CUA, we were using a very old method of approvals, if any, and there were a number of different ways to book [travel]: phone, email, and through a slow, clunky system,” Kathryn Crooks, a contract specialist at CUA, tells My Business.
By implementing the digital travel management system Travelport Locomote, Kathryn saw a huge drop in spend, with more drops predicted.
“Within the first month we saw a huge drop in spend. This was to be expected, but then month two and three also saw considerable decreases,” says Kathryn.
“We estimate to save at least $300,000 this year.”
While implementing such a process may have been expected to be costly, there was minimal impact on CUA.
“The transition was great,” she says.
“We conducted some training sessions with key users of travel, as well as one-on-one training. Phone training was also taken up by branch staff who were not in hub office locations.
“Overall, it took about three months to get everyone onboard.”
Steve Rider, Mybottleshop.com.au
Speaking on the My Business Podcast, Mybottleshop founder Steve Rider explains how he incentivises his customers to spend money with him by offering them product suggestions using automated recommendations software.
“It's about making sure that the customer gets the right offering,” he says.
In order to get that right offering, Steve uses Mybottleshop’s online only shopfront as a means to collect customer data when purchases are made.
This allows Mybottleshop to predict other items that are similar to the purchase history of a customer.
“What we can do is based on the purchasing behaviour of the customer, we can then give them more tailored offerings so we're not wasting their time because it takes a lot of effort and cost to get people to sign up and engage with you,” says Steve.
“We can do stuff like that that a normal retailer who's got bricks and mortar [can’t]. We get it organically as part of the process; we don't even go out because the customer's interacting with us.
“We know their age, we can track their purchasing behaviour. We can see what they buy, how much they spend, where they’re located, what's the average spend on that suburb,” Steve explains
Steve says there are plans to use the entered date of birth, used as a means to determine whether a customer can legally buy alcohol or not, to generate store credit or free products for customers on their birthday.