Apple has new tools and services for small businesses…and more tech news for small businesses this week

Here are five tech events that happened in the 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 United States.

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

Why it matters to your business:

I am not an Apple user and yet I am very happy to see this! This is because I have many customers who love their Apple products and have complained for years about the lack of tools and services available to them. Also, it’s good to see more options to repair and manage these devices. If my business used Apple products, I would subscribe to one of these plans.

2 — Rewards programs are the main 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% of the time. The survey also revealed that 13% of consumers prefer other methods to store cards. Four percent of store cardholders made qualifying purchases with credit cards, while seven percent made purchases with debit cards. Only 2% of consumers made cash purchases and less than 1% made qualifying purchases with PayPal. (Source: Pymnts)

Why it matters to your business:

I have a few thoughts on this. The first is that more customers are using 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 pay 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 to your business in determining the credit and payment options you offer your customers.

3 — Boston Dynamics’ “Stretch” robot has gone into production and is already sold out.

Boston Dynamics has deployed its second trading robot named “Stretch”. The box-moving warehouse robot has been in trial use and has undergone further development since March 2021 before being refined into a commercial version available for purchase. Stretch efficiently unloads trucks, removes boxes from pallets and prepares orders without requiring additional infrastructure. The company shared that units slated for delivery in 2022 have already sold out. (Source: ARS Technica)

Why it matters to your business:

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

4 — Google introduced Retail Search for e-commerce sites.

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

Why it matters to your business:

Functionalitywhich was built using Google technology that can understand user intent in contextaims to help businesses improve searches on e-commerce sites and improve the overall shopping experience for consumers.

5— These approaches improve your workflows better than spreadsheets.

Last week, Isaac Sacolick, contributor to the technology website InfoWorld, suggested five ways companies could improve spreadsheets for their workflows. Suggestions included creating a dashboard or data visualization, migrating to no-code or SaaS databases, enabling departmental workflows and collaborations, hyper-automating workflows data and integrations, and building no-code or low-code apps. (Source: InfoWorld)

Why it matters to your business:

I love including news in this column, but I couldn’t help but share Sacolick’s advice because so many of us use spreadsheets in our businesses and this advice is really, really good. If you or your key employees are big spreadsheet users, read his column…you’ll learn a lot.

About Nereida Nystrom

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