How can technology help my business trade?
Businesses that adopt new technologies can be better positioned to seize opportunities in global marketplaces to fill unmet needs and interests of customers. For example, technologies like mobile devices, social media, and cloud computing reduce up-front investments and improve marketing and management practices to reach customers worldwide. New technologies can also help your business trade by outsourcing services and building partnerships in supply chains that are essential for entering into new markets. Learn more from The Balance Small Business, All Business, and Technivorz.
What new technologies and digital tools can I consider for my business?
Some examples of new technologies that can help your business become more competitive in global markets include:
- 3D printing: Also known as additive manufacturing, this consists of making three-dimensional solid objects from layering materials like plastics, composites, or bio-materials. If your business is in the manufacturing industry, owning a 3D printer can help you find niche markets. Learn more from 3D Printing and 3D Printing Industry.
- Cloud computing: This refers to a centralized location on the internet that stores data and information. Cloud computing helps businesses save the costs of installing hardware and software and enhances their productivity and performance in meeting operational goals. Cloud computing also allows companies to set up webships more easily. You can also benefit from adopting more flexibility in interacting with your workers and customers on a regular basis. Learn more from Microsoft and the Balance.
- Digital platforms: These platforms are online infrastructures and networks that facilitate commercial interactions between suppliers and consumers. Some examples include e-commerce and social media websites that you can use to advertise your products and services, promote additional features, and offer payment options (see guide on selling abroad online). Learn more from the Innovation Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and bmc.
- Electronic payments: E-payments are payments for goods and services that users make electronically through digital platforms. E-payments can help your business to trade overseas because they save costs, provide security, and are convenient for collecting money transfers from customers. Visit Tipalti and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) for more.
- Social media: This consists of websites and applications that facilitate content sharing to the public efficiently. Some of the well-known social media apps are Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. Your business can use social media tools to create customized webpages for reaching out to customers in online e-commerce sites and marketplaces. Visit Lifewire and Tech Target for more.
- Other technologies: Blockchain/distributed ledger technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) are other technologies that can offer opportunities for your business to grow and expand into global markets. The following sources provide you with key aspects about these technologies and how you can consider applying them into your business. Learn more from Teceze, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and World Trade Organization (WTO) Blockchain Training, Deloitte, and Forbes.
How can I learn more about useful technologies for my business?
The SME Trade Academy, managed by the International Trade Centre, offers courses that can help you learn more about new ways for doing business and trade through new technologies. A selection of these courses is listed below.
- Course on lean digital transformation: This course introduces methods that help businesses design a digital transformation roadmap. Visit the course.
- Course on introduction to e-commerce: This course showcases business opportunities in e-commerce and strategies for developing online sales channels. Visit the course.
- Course on innovation for entrepreneurs: This course teaches entrepreneurs and business owners about the most relevant aspects of innovation and digital technologies. Visit the course.
- Course on introduction to blockchain for trade: This course explains the role of blockchain in doing business through international trade. Visit the course.
What other resources should I look at?
- The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is committed to becoming a platform that contributes towards scaling up innovation and building an enabling environment for SMEs. Therefore, the organization is actively working on developing initiatives that help create synergies in information and communications technology (ICT) entrepreneurship. For more information, visit the dedicated ITU webpage on entrepreneurship. The various ways that MSMEs can participate include:
- Google also has a number of tools and trainings for business digitalization. These include: