Read about several of the small business trends that contributor David Gitonga predicts will dominate in 2013.
In 2012, initiatives such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the growth of Communications-as-a-Service (CaaS) continued to create a level playing ground for large enterprises and SMBs. Here's what I believe SMBs can expect in the coming year.
1: Mobile wallets
2012 was also a big year for mobile wallets, and I think that this trend will get even hotter in 2013. Square, Passbook for iOS, and Google Wallet are making it possible for businesses of all sizes to offer mobile payment solutions to customers.
The partnership between Square and Starbucks signaled a start to mainstream services in online mobile payments. Square processes all credit and debit card transactions at Starbucks stores in the United States, allowing customers to pay for their vanilla lattes by simply saying their names to get their credit cards processed.
2: YouTube as a promotion and engagement tool
YouTube's growth has been exponential over the last three years, and the trend is not decelerating. Over 800 million people use YouTube each month, and past growth statistics show the number hitting a billion in 2013. Another interesting fact is that more than 20 percent of all YouTube views are from mobile devices. These impressive stats should make you assess whether your business could do more to leverage YouTube.
Many businesses are using YouTube to house their video content; the ability to embed these videos on their websites makes the service even more appealing. Now businesses can easily share their video content on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ right within YouTube.
YouTube also includes small business tools to help you measure engagement. YouTube Analytics can help you determine which videos have more engagement. It is even possible to undertake YouTube SEO and garner search results right within Google search.
3: Mobile support
The desktop and mobile are no longer separate entities and each should be given the same amount of attention, as mobile continues to heat up and is predicted to overtake desktop usage by 2014. A great customer experience on mobile devices can lead to return visitors and good referrals.
Most large enterprises have responsive websites that respond to the size of the device from which they are being accessed. When a single design renders differently on mobile devices, it offers usability advantages for mobile users.
It's no longer a question of whether your small business will support mobile, but rather when. Hopefully, this will be one of your 2013 resolutions.
What small business tech trends do you think we'll see in 2013? Post your predictions in the comments section.