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Microsoft Is Having An Excellent Pandemic…And Other Small Business Tech News

By November 2, 2020No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

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

1 —Microsoft is having a great pandemic.

Despite the economic struggles businesses and corporations have been facing due to the coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft is continuing to see a growth in their revenue. According to their recent report, Microsoft has seen $37.2 billion in revenue—an increase of 12%—and $13.0 billion in net income, which is an increase of 30%. Due to the fact that many businesses are working from home thanks to COVID-19, Microsoft has benefitted specifically from the shift with its cloud services and video conferencing getting major boosts. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

In defense of Microsoft, they’re not the only company having a good pandemic. Construction, technology and e-commerce firms have also been doing very well. But in Microsoft’s case, their cloud software business has been taking off and accelerated because of these times, with Teams one of the biggest contributors to their revenues. I always tell clients to not only judge the tech but the firm making it and given Microsoft’s numbers you can feel pretty comfortable making investments in their products. (My firm, The Marks Group PC, implements Microsoft products)

2 — Touchless contactless payments drive consumer safety preferences.

According to a survey conducted by PayPal and Pymnts back in September, 57% of consumers shared that retailers offering digital payment options directly influenced whether or not they would shop in a store. The survey also revealed that most shoppers preferred to steer clear of payment methods such as cards and cash since shoppers would be required to come into physical contact with workers, with 26% of shoppers wanting more contactless options and 23% preferring curbside pickup. (Source: Pymnts)

Why this is important for your business:

A message for small restauranteurs and retailers: you need to invest in contact-less technologies. QR codes, touchpads, text ordering, etc. Talk to your point-of-sale software providers and research what applications and hardware are most popular. Ignoring this trend will cost you business.

3 —Online sales explode as Black Friday crumbles into months of deals, with experts predicting Americans will spend $3 billion every single day the week of Thanksgiving.

A new report released this past week by Adobe Analytics indicated that online sales in the United States will go up to $189 billion during this year’s holiday season, which will be an overall 33% jump since last year. The report also predicted that online sales will go above $2 billion per-day during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, at which point shoppers are predicted to spend at least $3 billion each day of that week. It is believed that Black Friday online sales will be 39% higher from last year at $10 billion, as Cyber Monday is expected to see a 35% increasing totaling $12.7 billion. (Source: Business Insider)

Why this is important for your business:

Small retailers looking to succeed this holiday season must have an ecommerce strategy. Savings rates are up, household debt is down and consumers are spending. But they’re just not spending their money in person.

4 — Instagram extends time limits on live streams to 4 hours and will soon support archiving.

New information released by Instagram this week revealed that the company will extend the time limits for live streams to up to 4 hours. Streams were previously capped at 1 hour. Due to many businesses and individuals unable to host live events in-person such as meetups, classes, concerts, etc., many more have started to utilize live streaming and the extension in the time limit will assist those who have needed to adapt to hosting events virtually such as teachers, activists, artists, and fitness instructors. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

This new feature benefits all small businesses, freelancers, influencers and media firms looking to expand their messaging and produce longer-form content to attract more followers and hopefully customers.

5— Startup Vowel raised $4.3M to take on Zoom in video conferencing.

Vowel—a video conferencing startup—recently raised $4.3 million and is looking to compete with video conferencing giants like Zoom and others. (Source: Business Insider)

Why this is important for your business:

According to the startup, the goal is to create a more efficient and cohesive video conferencing experience for those working remotely with advanced features such as the ability to provide transcripts and the ability annotate meetings in order to let participants search content after a meeting— making it easier for members who couldn’t attend— as well as simplify the process of setting meetings. Will this be enough to use them?


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