Apple Has New Tools And Services For Small Businesses…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 —Apple Business Essentials is now available to all small businesses in the US.

After initial beta testing, Apple is making Apple Business Essentials available to all small businesses in the US. The offeringwhich includes device repair, iCloud Drive storage, and device managementaims to simplify device management for growing businesses who rely on Apple. The service also helps small businesses onboard employees by streamlining device and password setup. Apple Business Essentials offers several plans for business owners and IT managers to choose from. (Source: 9 to 5 Mac)

Why this is important for your business:

I’m not an Apple user and yet I’m very happy to see this! That’s because I have many clients who do love their Apple products and have complained for years about the lack of tools and services available for them. Also, it’s good to see more options for repairing and managing these devices. If my business was using Apple products, I’d be signing up for one of these plans.

2 — Rewards programs are the top reasons consumers use store cards.

A survey of 2,161 consumers in the United States found that consumers rely on store cards for eligible purchases 87 percent of the time. The survey also found that 13 percent of consumers prefer other methods over store cards. Four percent of store card holders made eligible purchases with credit cards, while seven percent made purchases with debit cards. Only two percent of consumers made purchases with cash, and less than one percent made eligible purchases with PayPal. (Source: Pymnts)

Why this is important for your business:

I have a few thoughts on this. The first is that more customers use store cards than I originally thought and this should be considered by anyone in retail. The second is that customers will use a store card if you’re paying them to do so with rewards. I’m also surprised at the low percentage of customers using PayPal in-store. This data should be useful for your business when figuring out what credit and payment options you’re offering to your customers.

3 —Boston Dynamics’ “Stretch” robot has hit production, and it’s already sold out.

Boston Dynamics rolled out its second commercial robot named “Stretch.” The box-moving warehouse robot has been used for trials and undergone additional developments since March 2021 before being refined into a commercial version available for purchase. Stretch efficiently unloads trucks, takes boxes off pallets, and builds orders without the need of any extra infrastructure. The company shared that units scheduled to be delivered in 2022 have already sold out. (Source: ARS Technica)

Why this is important for your business:

I’ve been talking a lot about Stretch – and other manufacturing/warehouse tech – to industry groups around the country. Why is Stretch sold out? Because, for the price, it makes a lot of financial sense to buy a robot like this than pay an employee. And that’s what a lot of companies are doing this year because they can’t find people.

4 — Google has introduced Retail Search for ecommerce sites.

Google Cloud recently released its new solution for ecommerce merchants known as Retail Search. This solution provides retailers with Google Search engine capabilities on their business domains. (Source: Search Engine Journal)

Why this is important for your business:

The featurewhich was built using Google technology that can comprehend user intent an contextis aimed at helping businesses enhance searches on ecommerce sites and improve the overall shopping experience for consumers.

5— These approaches improve your workflows better than spreadsheets.

This past week, Isaac Sacolick, a contributor for tech website InfoWorld, suggested five ways businesses can improve on spreadsheets for their workflows. The suggestions included building a dashboard or data visualization, migrating to no-code or SaaS databases, enabling departmental workflows and collaborations, hyper automating data flows and integrations, and building no-code or low-code applications. (Source: InfoWorld)

Why this is important for your business:

I like to include news in this column, but couldn’t resist sharing Sacolick’s advice because so many of use spreadsheets in our businesses and these tips are really, really good. If you or your key employees are big spreadsheet users then read his column…you’ll learn a lot.