Is your technology solving the right problem?

March 17, 2014By Behind the Shelf Blog, Industry Intuition

by Shawn Theesfeld

Your data’s organized. Your website’s great. Now you need to reach customers to let them know you’ve got it all together. What are the most effective ways to share what your business offers?

Changing technology has given us more ways than ever to reach customers and provide them with opportunities to interact with our brand, business, and content. Deciding how to use that technology most effectively is the challenge. Sometimes, businesses can feel pressured to jump on the technology bandwagon and may implement misaligned solutions for problems they don’t really have.

For instance, many retailers are adding self-serve kiosks to their stores to allow customers the opportunity to review products, order online, and even evaluate their health status to some degree. While these technological marvels might seem exciting and forward-thinking, the question remains: do the shoppers need them? Or are they more likely to either ask for assistance, or use their smartphone to answer their questions? Thinking about that, a more cost effective solution for retailers might be developing store-specific apps for shoppers to download vs. investing in a large new piece of technology. Neither is right or wrong, but it’s worth carefully considering your store’s shoppers and specific situation before choosing the best option.Social Media platforms

Social media presents the same “go big or go home” challenge to many businesses. I’ve encountered many clients who feel pressured to use every social media platform out there in an effort to compete, without pausing to consider which ones might be the most impactful for their business. Just like with in-store technology, less can sometimes be more when deciding how to use social media to reach your customers. You have to use it these days – not doing so means you’re missing real opportunity – but how to use it needs to make sense, and be well done.

Don’t set up an account on every platform you can think of; instead, focus on the two or three you think you could do in a way that will resonate with your customers. For example, many businesses use Facebook to show customers the personal, more lighthearted side of their work; that may not be suitable for a B2B proprietary data company bound by confidentiality. LinkedIn, however, would be a great platform for that company to make connections with their industry in a meaningful way. Whatever social media you choose to implement, just make sure you’re staying up-to-date on best-practices for engagement, keeping updates fresh and appealing, and encouraging others to interact with you there to build your presence.

Use technology carefully and strategically to maximize results. Taking care to align your data, web presence, and social media efforts will save you money, and ideally, make you money by streamlining your customers’ ability to access your business.

Shawn Theesfeld has over six years’ experience at HRG, built on previous experience working within IT departments at Land’s End and Abbott Laboratories. As Software Development Lead, Shawn has worked with clients to solve their technology challenges and make their operations run more smoothly in order to meet the ever-changing demands of end users.

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