Tech Tools To Make The Independent Retailer’s Holiday Season Merry

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If you had to grade yourself on your level of technology adoption, would you be headed for the honor roll or failing miserably? Earlier this year, Cox Business polled hundreds of small business owners on the impact and influence tech has on their success, and a whopping 62% fall in the above average category when it comes to using technology to improve performance.  For those SMB owners in the latter category, it’s time to get up to speed. Take a look at our top technology picks to help you bring your A-game to promoting and operating your business during the holidays.

Cloud-Based Services

For most people, including independent retailers, “the cloud” is still considered a mysterious place.  The reality is, the cloud revolution (think Software as a Service tools), have truly brought unprecedented computing power and technology options to small businesses.

When searching for the right service, look for cloud-based technology that carefully pulls together business solutions that can be managed through one portal. Having access to a cloud of your very own can help you access and safely share files from anywhere, which can come in handy amid the holiday hustle.


Email Marketing Platforms

Cloud-based technology is extremely valuable in supporting email marketing programs. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this year, 56% of holiday shoppers expect to do at least some part of their holiday shopping online. Seize this opportunity and motivate shoppers to check out what you have to offer with quick and compelling emails. This can be a lot easier than it sounds with the help of technology like email marketing platforms. There are a variety of available tools that make launching email campaigns seamless.

Furthermore for those who think email is dead, guess again. Up to 82% of SMB owners find email to be the top channel for improving customer engagement.

Customer Relationship Management Tools

Another area where cloud-based tools can enhance your holiday marketing efforts is in the customer relationship management (CRM) software arena. CRM solutions are great for managing big data, i.e. all of the information your business aggregates online and off.  It can help you to take that data and extract what’s really important from it, including:

  • Which customers purchase from you?
  • How often do they purchase?
  • What do they purchase?
  • When do they purchase?

According to a holiday survey from ConstantContact, 44% of small businesses express a need to set up systems to track sales and customer data. CRM technology allows small retailers the chance to be smarter marketers, and ultimately establish long-lasting connections with the people who help keep their lights on.

Alternative Mobile Payment Options

Don’t just stop the tech adoption with cloud, email marketing and CRM platforms, go mobile! Gone are the days where cash, check, or credit are the only payment options consumers come prepared to spend with. With the launch of new payment alternatives, more smartphone owners will use options like Apple Pay and Google Wallet during the holidays. Will you be able to accept?

As increasingly more consumers trade in their wallets for smartphones, the time is now for small retailers to jump on the mobile payment options bandwagon — by adding them into the payment mix. While investing in equipment might seem like a roadblock you can’t overcome, take solace in knowing there is a wide-variety of inexpensive cloud-based applications from which to choose that integrate with existing point of sale systems and are easy to use. 

The Big Takeaway

Having the right technology to help your business operate more efficiently and stand out against the competition is critical to your success this holiday shopping season. The impact cloud-based services, email marketing platforms, customer relationship management tools, and mobile payment options can have on your business are exponential. Adding these to your holiday wish list is sure to set your business up for year full of profitability and growth. 


Stephen Rowley serves as Senior Vice President of Cox Business, overseeing its strategic direction, including all marketing, operations, sales, product development and partnership initiatives. Prior to leading Cox Business he was the Vice President of sales and field operations for Cox Business’ western U.S. markets where he served as the chief liaison between corporate headquarters and the western markets with oversight on local strategic planning, sales performance, marketing, back office, customer installations and capital investment.


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