The service industry is about to get very interesting thanks to some developing technologies. Many of these devices and services have been commercially available in the past, but were restricted to specific industry or IT departments, without much application in the wider service world. But now the average service business, from restaurants to financial businesses, are being changed by these big ideas. If you want to upgrade your company, find new ideas on how to cut costs or improve customer retention, or just want to keep an eye on the trends, read on…
1. 3D Printing: Make no mistake, 3D printers are still in the early stages of development, and few commercial uses apply. However, when applicable they are making big waves in many different industries. You see, 3D printers are very good at simple manufacturing jobs. They can swiftly and inexpensively create small, simple parts with a wide variety of customization options. This is set to change many manufacturing sectors and in turn change the nature of many customer-oriented supplies, making them available in more materials, a higher number of creative shapes, and much less expensive batches.
2. Tablet Computers: Tablet computers have made great inroads in the individual consumer market, but some of their most impactful work is already happening in the service sector. Just ask Applebee’s, which is installing thousands of tablets at tables in its restaurants that allow hungry customers to order and pay with just a few taps. Options like this cut down on menu supplies, wait time, service issues, and confusion about the bill, just to name a few big changes.
3. Big Data Collection: Speaking of big changes, software is slowly being revolutionized by the incorporation of big data. More and more vendors are offering services that calculate not only KPIs like sales, site traffic, and inventory turnover, but also the smallest details about customer habits, employee actions, inventory use, and industry cycles. The result, when packaged into useful interfaces and advices, is new savings and better decision-making capabilities.
4. Customization Options: This refers primarily to customization options for your marketing and your customers. Ad and discount customization is one of the biggest hidden trends shaping up for 2014, allowing multiple businesses to target specific ads to their customers based on shopping habits, location, interests and much more. All that Big Data previously mentioned wil also allow companies to create specific discounts tailored for one individual to encourage them to buy.
5. More Mobile Apps: The last two options, Big Data and customization, are boosting the use of mobile apps and software as a selling point by thousands of businesses. As apps become easier to develop and more useful to users, more companies will create them. Pizza businesses, for example, pioneered the way into mobile ordering apps – but places like fast food restaurants and cafes are ready to adopt the technology too. Location-based services offer other businesses plenty of mobile potential, too.
6. More Supply Tracking: The time is long gone when RFID tag tracking was too expensive to use on anything but pallets and cartons. Now smaller and cheaper identification tags can be used to track individual products, on the shelves and off. This allows companies to chart exactly how products are moved, how customers shop and purchase, and precisely how long time-sensitive produce has been in storage.
7. Smart Energy: Smart energy sensors and meters are growingly increasingly common in residential and commercial sectors alike. Before long, every company will be able to detailed reports on energy use to regulat appliance use and operation hours to save as much money as possible – and it probably won’t cost an extra cent.
Peter Bowman is a professional blogger that provides tips and information on franchise opportunities you should invest in. He writes for FranchiseExpo.com, the place to find the best franchise opportunities available.
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