10 Pieces of Technology You Should Invest in This Year

10 Pieces of Technology You Should Invest in This Year

You’re looking to take your business to the next level this year. But do you have the right technologies in place to make this year your best yet?

Technology can make your business more efficient, help you get organized, and create a better environment for both customers and employees.

Here are the 10 tools you absolutely need to invest in this year.

1. Chip card and mobile payments reader

A “no chip cards yet” sign on your POS isn’t going to cut it. It’s 2017 — almost everyone has chip cards, and you need a point of sale that can accept them ASAP. When you upgrade, make sure you get one that also accepts mobile payments (like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay).

Mobile payments are the fastest, most convenient, and secure way to pay. And they’re going to take off this year. Square’s NFC Reader accepts both chip cards and mobile payments and is just $49.

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2. Mobile-optimized website and online store

No one has patience anymore for a website that’s not optimized for mobile. If yours doesn’t work like a charm on all devices, it’s likely you’re losing tons of customers (not to mention getting dinged in search results).

It should be as simple as possible for customers to browse items, add them to the cart, and then check out on their mobile devices. This takes just seconds on Amazon — if it takes much longer on your business’s website, customers will bounce.

3. Analytics and business intelligence (BI) tools

Smart small businesses will heavily rely on data and analytics this year to make important decisions about everything from marketing strategies to staffing. Square Analytics, which is hooked up to the transaction data from your Square POS, has a wealth of information to help: things like historical sales reports, your busiest times of the day, and how many new versus returning customers you’re bringing in. You should review this information constantly to adjust strategies and compete.

4. CRM (customer relationship management) software

A robust CRM — most critically, one that includes email marketing software that slices and dices your lists — is now a must-have. That’s because consumers are tired of mass-blasted messages and prefer more personalized, curated content. We’ve seen this with Square’s Email Marketing Service, where happy birthday messages have by far the highest clickthrough rate of email sent through the system.

5. Remote working tools

Offering the ability to work remotely not only helps with recruiting and retaining top talent, studies show it actually improves team productivity. In 2017, integrate technologies that make it easy for employees to manage their job from anywhere. Here’s a list of essential ones.

6. Inventory management software

As omnichannel retail becomes the expected norm, a seamless experience between online and brick-and-mortar stores is essential. To accomplish this, you need robust inventory management software.

There are a number of excellent solutions in Square App Marketplace that help sync in-store and online inventory in real time, reducing merchandising snafus.

7. Employee management software

Keeping track of your staff’s schedules on a paper calendar is needlessly messy and complicated. Square App Marketplace now features employee management software solutions that let you manage schedules and track time straight from your mobile device, making everyone’s lives easier.

8. Loyalty software program

Sixty-eight percent of millennials say they would change where they shopped if it meant getting more perks. Stay attractive to this generation by implementing a customer loyalty program.

With Square Loyalty, you can grant stars based on visits or the amount spent, and offer custom rewards that make sense for your business. The program integrates with your customer and sales data, allowing you to track key metrics and the impact on your bottom line.

9. Payroll software

Payroll is something you don’t want to mess up. Yet, unfortunately, it’s easy to make mistakes when you’re doing it manually. That’s why as your business expands this year, payroll software is critical. Designed for both hourly and salaried employees, Square Payroll handles your federal and state payroll taxes including withholdings, payments, and filings.

10. Free Wi-Fi

Wherever you are, it’s really frustrating when pages take ages to load. And if you’re a cafe or coffee shop, not offering Internet could even be a deterrent for regular customers (it’s a criteria that’s searchable on Yelp, after all).

So invest in free Wi-Fi this year. To mitigate the problem of people posting up for hours without buying anything, add signs that politely ask customers to purchase items every two hours.

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