By Nikki Carlson, Co-Founder/Co-Chair of ChicExecs Retail and Strategy Firm. She has over 21 years of PR/marketing experience.
Digital transformation is unavoidable in 2023. It is the key to staying competitive, reducing your costs and maintaining your grip on the market. Plus, there could be a recession this year, so you need every advantage you can get.
The media is abuzz with rumors about technology and AI, but which technologies will really shake things up for your business this year? As the co-founder of a PR and retail strategy firm, here are five technologies I recommend considering in 2023:
1. Cloud Computing
If you store everything locally on your laptop or smartphone, that’s a big business risk. What happens if someone steals your laptop? Or if you drop your phone in the pool? For resiliency reasons, I think all businesses need to move to the cloud. When the worst happens (and it will eventually), you can simply revert to a cloud backup and resume your business with fewer interruptions.
In my experience, cloud storage is cheaper than storing your data on hard drives. Plus, automatic backups make it easy to back up your information in near real-time, which can save your life if something goes wrong.
You don’t need a big IT department to do it either. You can hire a managed cloud provider to do the heavy lifting for you. Just be sure to choose a company that offers end-to-end encryption. If someone tries to steal your data from the cloud, encryption makes it much harder for malicious parties to access that information.
Love it or hate it, ChatGPT is a business tool on everyone’s mind right now. If you’ve never heard of it before, ChatGPT is an AI model you can use to write text. It’s a compelling (and free!) tool that can write everything from social media posts to children’s stories to code.
ChatGPT is arguably the easiest way for any business to start integrating AI into their workflow. You can use ChatGPT to create:
• Questions and answers
But remember, ChatGPT does not replace human labor. It is best used for brainstorming or idea generation. Whatever you do, be sure to check out the AI-generated content. It’s unclear where the bots pulled the content from and factual errors are common with this type of content technology.
Are you trying to make a desperately long to-do list? Automation can help you tackle tricky tasks that aren’t worth your time.
For example, robotic process automation platforms will deploy a fleet of robots to perform tasks on your behalf. They cannot perform super complex tasks, but they are ideal for:
• Data transfers
If you don’t want to give bots full control, you can try a workflow automation platform instead. This type of software allows you to plug in your processes and automate them. Employees simply follow the software’s prompts, ensuring they take timely and consistent action on every task, every time.
Whichever way you decide to adopt it in your business, automation can help you get more done in less time. You can keep your employees on task and use their talents on the tasks that really matter, increasing productivity at all levels.
4. Internet of Things
If you own a Nest or Fitbit thermostat, you’ve seen the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) in action. This type of technology makes it possible to collect data or manage your assets with less hassle.
If you have a storefront, consider adopting these IoT-enabled smart devices to save more time and money in the long run:
• coffee makers
• Smoke alarms
Most voice assistants, like Alexa or Siri, can also connect to these devices. Thanks to these voice assistants, all you have to do is say the magic word and you will be able to manage your IoT devices without a screen.
5. Virtual reality and augmented reality
No, it’s not too early for your business to embrace virtual reality or augmented reality. You’ll have to work with a developer for this one, but it’s possible to create multi-sensory experiences that bridge the gap between the real world and the virtual world.
Every business is different, but you can boost your brand with virtual reality or augmented reality by:
• Allow shoppers to virtually try on different shades of makeup
• Allow shoppers to try on clothes or shoes with AR
• Create exclusive in-store VR experiences to increase foot traffic
Just make sure that this investment contributes to the customer experience and serves a purpose.
In conclusion, don’t let new technology overwhelm you in 2023. Whether it’s AI or cloud computing, technology can help automate and bring efficiency to your business model.