Access. Greater access to data for small businesses, who are often local businesses with physical locations, will not necessarily be about processing huge quantities of data but rather about capturing and integrating disparate sources of data. Some of this data had previously not been recorded at scale or seen in one place. As an example, companies like Euclid Analytics are enabling small businesses to access data on foot traffic and time per visit, when previously this data was manually calculated and sampled. For small e-commerce shops, SumAll is pulling data from multiple social media sites, Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and various e-commerce platforms and putting them in a single dashboard.
Visualization. Visualizing data will also be important for small businesses, and companies likeInsightSquared are creating beautiful online dashboards for small sales-driven companies. But they aren’t building tools for deep exploration, because small business owners simply don’t have the time for this. They need insight at a glance, and the winning companies are relentlessly seeking to improve their dashboards to drive immediate insight. Small business dashboards will drive beautiful insight.
Automation. Small businesses are also going to be able to do the behavioral marketing that large companies regularly do today. However, it will be even cooler because it won’t be based on just web visits or email opens, but also on customers’ repeat visits to their physical stores or customers coming to the store for the first time. My own company, FiveStars, is calling this future trend “loyalty automation.” It will be marketing automation for local businesses.