2016 Year Ender: Small Businesses Should Focus on AI, Mobile in 2017

Dec 29, 2016 05:33 AM EST

2016 has been a big year for technological developments. There's been a shift towards the consumer experience, and it will continue in 2017. However there is a need to redefine it to allow small businesses to compete with their larger counterparts.

According to Ann Marie Van Den Hurk and her Kentucky piece, 2017 will have two technologies facing the forefront of development: mobile and artificial intelligence.

Businesses should focus on putting their efforts on mobile. Everything they do should be accessible via phones as this has already been a trend in previous years. Google, the primary search engine of a lot of netizens, is making mobile its primary search.

They are even creating a separate mobile index, which will become the primary source of response to queries.

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Given that nearly 60-percent of searches are conducted on mobile, businesshave to be mobile-friendly.

According to Small Biz Daily, this means websites and content should be geared towards serving customers on mobile devices. Customer preferences and Google demand that mobile experiences for customers be available or they may be left behind.This can be achieved through smart website design, SEO and content.

Customers are always looking for specific information, and they should be easy to find. Gone are the photo sliders and bulky graphics, simple is the key. This means it should be easy for core information such as products and services to be found anywhere. Navigation must not be complicated, and three-to-five pages with short menus should exist.

Meanwhile, AI is also making a resurgence. It's very helpful to perform common sense tasks, but it's also starting to focus on big picture issues. According to CNBC, AI can help in three ways: virtual assistance, insights and manual process automation.

Virtual assistance is something businesses need right away. Virtual assistant and chatbots can help assist with customer service tasks like scheduling meetings or answering simple and repetitive customer questions.

AI can also be helpful with generation of insights. We are collective massive amounts of data on customers but it's pointless if it's not in a usable form. AI can transform that data into practical insights and learn from it, this allows AI to adapt to market behavior changes.

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