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5 Small Business Tech Trends To Watch in the New Year

Cash registers are like Game Boys; cutting-edge technology in the ‘90s, not so much now.

You might be falling behind the curve if you’re still using a cash register or even a legacy point of sale (POS) system. Technology is evolving rapidly, and if you’re just hanging on for dear life, you might get a little overwhelmed.

We get it; the big boys have more access to technology, right? 

But there are various technological advancements you can take advantage of in your small business! The five technology trends we’ll highlight today can level the playing field for boutiques, shops, and small stores in 2024.

Let’s dive in!

Small Business Tech Trends: How Will They Affect Your Retail Store?

The retail environment changes rapidly, and whether you own a boutique clothing store or a small hardware shop, you’ll need to embrace technology as it develops. Technology reshapes your customers’ expectations and behavior, and implementing the right solutions is no longer optional.

Modern POS systems let you see what’s selling and what isn’t, help you manage marketing campaigns, target your ideal customers, and make inventory management a breeze. Without a modern POS system, you rely on outdated technology and manual processes to help run your store.

Not only that, but your customers will also notice if your operations aren’t smooth. They want speed, communication, and convenience. And everything happening in the retail space right now is geared towards making those things happen.

We could just tell you about the latest tech trends, but we want this to be actionable, so we’ll also highlight how you can use the tools you already have access to that will modernize your store and your customers’ experience.

1. Personalized Recommendations To Engage Customers

Your small business’ success relies on your relationships with your customers. And modern technology continues to make it possible to treat customers well so they keep coming back to your store.

As technology improves, it will take personalization to a new level. But for now, a modern POS system is a great way to engage customers.

For example, your POS can quickly capture customer details, and your webstore can do the same. With a unified view of each customer, you can try various strategies to engage them:

  • Loyalty programs: Track purchase history in your POS and provide customized promotions or discounts to loyal customers. A built-in loyalty CRM lets you track and manage points systems and tiered rewards.
  • Targeted messaging: You can reach customers in various ways. When they sign up to hear from you, they’ll often choose which channels they want to hear from you on. For example, if a customer regularly purchases black denim, you could send an email when a new arrival of black jeans is on sale. You might offer them 10 percent off their next purchase to further incentivize them.
  • Cross-selling: Point of sale systems can prompt cashiers to cross-sell to regular customers. For example, the customer who loves black denim might want to purchase a luxury belt that completes their outfit. Smart POS systems detect opportunities in real time.

Amazon and Netflix use engines to personalize recommendations, and you can, too. The better you know your customers, the better their experience will be.

Related Read: 3 Essential Ways a POS Can Improve Retail Customer Management

2. Omnichannel Shopping for Modern Consumers

Let’s look at a few statistics:

Can you see the trend? Customers want an omnichannel experience, and they expect it to be consistent. They want the same level of service online from your physical store.

You need technology that facilitates online and in-person experiences. It can’t be disjointed — pricing discrepancies and inconsistent branding won’t do — it needs to be unified. Modern POS systems are vital.

Related Read: 5 Things You NEED To Know About Omnichannel POS

With a modern POS system, you can handle online sales easily, track inventory across all sales channels, and manage customer loyalty programs without needing separate systems.

3. Sustainability at the Forefront of Retail Operations

Whether it’s paper straws or eco-friendly packaging, consumers and stores alike are moving towards more sustainable practices. In fact, 70 percent of customers feel sustainability is more important than brand names.

To align with your customer base, you need new initiatives to become more sustainable and the tools to help you do so. The most obvious place to start is reducing waste or shrinkage.

Automated inventory management helps prevent over-ordering, and stock rotation stops products from expiring on shelves. Retail — particularly the fashion industry — has a reputation for discarding unsold items. 

As a small business, you can buck this trend by adopting better waste management practices. Think of grocery stores partnering with food banks or hardware stores donating unwanted tools to schools.

Related Read: 4 Strategies To Improve Retail Loss Prevention in Your Store

Other things to consider:

  • Make your supply chain more sustainable by minimizing the distance traveled during production and delivery of your products. You could also partner with socially and ethically responsible suppliers.
  • Consider alternative packaging. From recycled packaging to biodegradable packaging, you can make a difference and help minimize environmental impact.
  • You can even look into digital signage to eliminate paper waste. LED lighting can also make a difference.

Modern POS systems play a role in sustainability initiatives, from reducing paper receipts to managing inventory and reducing waste. Be transparent about your quest to help the environment!

4. Point of Sale Software Continues To Advance

Modern, cloud-based POS solutions are a must-have for small retailers. Manual processes are a thing of the past and lack data, critical sales reports, and inventory visibility. POS systems now leverage automation and integrated apps to help run your entire operation.

One clear example is the ability to manage inventory. Leading POS systems sync your products, sizes, and availability across online and brick-and-mortar channels. You can provide the omnichannel experience your customers crave, and sell anywhere you want. Y
our POS has various capabilities and keeps getting better:

  • Customer relationship management: With a centralized database, you can look at purchase history and preferences to provide personalized promotions and loyalty programs.
  • Integrated payments: You can process transactions across multiple channels and accept various payment types.
  • Staff management: Manage your team, from scheduling and time tracking through to payroll. Manage access control and compliance, and even monitor performance.
  • Reporting: Advanced POS systems come with prebuilt yet customizable reports on everything from daily sales to shrinkage.
  • Third-party integrations: Many POS systems integrate with apps for accounting, marketing, and more.

With technical tasks covered, you can focus more on your customers and provide a better experience.

Related Read: Retail Inventory Management Software: 5 Top Solutions and Providers

5. Other Trends To Keep on Your Radar

We can’t do an article about tech trends without mentioning artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). 

Modern POS software already uses a mixture of AI and ML — automated inventory software can predict demand based on historical sales data and seasonal trends — but this technology will continue to advance in 2024.

What else?

  • Chatbots: AI-powered chatbots can handle customer queries, guide purchases, and offer support at a lower cost. And they’re on 24/7!
  • Immersive experiences: Augmented and virtual reality lets online customers “try on” clothes and accessories through digital dressing rooms.
  • Advanced payments: Many retail stores offer tap-and-go mobile wallets, but the future may include biometric authentication and cryptocurrency.

While you don’t need to worry about them immediately, you’ll want to continually monitor these trends and other emerging technologies to stay ahead of the curve.

Small Business Tech Trends: Your POS Is Still Your Most Powerful Tool

Innovation moves fast, and your customers move just as quickly! From personalized recommendations to sustainability, technology will play a growing role in your operations — and none more so than your POS system.

Is it time to upgrade your POS system? Without automated inventory management, robust reports, and integrated customer loyalty programs, you’re missing out on technology that’s easy to use and implement.

At Comcash, we see your POS system as a central hub that connects your back office to your front of house. Don't get overwhelmed by manually linking online sales, daily reports, and accounting spreadsheets. Instead, let your POS system centralize and automate your critical operations so you can focus on your team and your customers.

Take a few minutes to see our POS software in action by scheduling a demo with our retail experts today. You’ll see firsthand how modern technology can help your business win.

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