As larger retailers test out technology that will allow for in-aisle shopping experiences for consumers, small businesses may feel a little bit out of the loop when it comes to intuitive technology trends. These larger companies are honing the ability to market directly to customers, during real-time shopping, and capturing higher profits in the process.

How can small businesses keep up with the consumer-friendly technology initiatives of their larger competitors?

The answer is that they really can’t offer the exact same features – not without the same budget and resources. Still, small businesses can reach out to their consumer base in intuitive ways. Take a look at three easy ways small businesses can anticipate the needs of their customers and increase sales too.

Set Up Rewards Programs

Give your customers the incentive to come back to you time and time again. Set up a rewards system that works with the technology you already use. It can be as simple as a punch card or be more complex through the use of a scannable plastic card or web-based tracking. You can also keep a database based on the phone numbers or email addresses of your customers who come in the store and update their purchases at check-out. Assign a point or per-visit system and encourage your customers to become regulars, with rewards in return.

Know Your Customers’ Needs

This is especially important if you run a service business. Figure out what your customers will need based on a specific time frame and then remind them that it is time for your services. A lawn service company may just have a monthly bill on a set schedule for mowing, but could offer upgrades for landscaping, fertilization, and other services every few months as well. A hair salon can set up email reminders for cuts, colors, and deep conditioning treatments. Do not be afraid to give your customers a nudge and suggest a great time for your services. It takes one step out of the process for your customers and shows them that in addition to great services, you also run an organized business.

Ask For Feedback

There are really so many ways to ask your customers for input on your business – and you really should take advantage. Whether you have a formal survey you hand out or email, or just put an informal prompt on Facebook asking what products or services your base would like to see more of, ask for feedback. Use those suggestions to broaden your offerings or improve the ones you already have. Instead of simply guessing what your customers may or may not want, or assuming that they are happy with what you offer, ask them directly. Then be sure to take those suggestions seriously to meet their needs.

How does your small business anticipate customer needs?

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