Urban growth is becoming the defining feature of the first half of the 21st century.
This fast-paced growth is having social, political and economic impacts, driven by the desire to improve quality of life.
This means bringing about improvements in local businesses, promoting access to services and information, and taking advantage of new opportunities for economic growth.
Cities need to innovate socially and economically to make this happen, which is what technological innovation is all about.
Technological innovation harnesses the power of technology to enhance the quality and efficiency of the services provided to citizens, as well as to generate sustainable economic growth.
In short, it’s about embracing the smart city concept, the best urban model we have for dealing with the future and the challenges it will bring.
The smart city has often been associated with technology and the efficient use of resources, but it is also linked to a broader concept of urban management.
We bring together information and technology to create new environments that drive the economy and business models.
When you have a business and your goal is to grow or improve it to win customers and become a better company, there are three key aspects you should take into account when it comes to innovating your local business.
– Find new customers
– Increase average sales (current and past customers)
– Increase sales frequency (current and past customers)
Local businesses are the ones that are suffering and struggling the most in this new smart cities methodology, which is why we’re here today to share a series of measures that you can implement to support the smart management of local businesses.
So what are the improvements for local businesses?
It all comes down to creating unique and memorable personalised experiences. Just like with our CICERONE, understanding tourists’ needs and preferences is paramount.
Can you imagine having a travel planner at your fingertips to personalise the tourist’s trip?
Thanks to the Cicerone GPT trip planner, you can do just that in less than 10 seconds, without requiring staff or making a long list based off a map.
Cicerone plans out the tourist’s stay and creates a guide with website content adapted to their interests and length of stay, just like you’d do in the tourist information centre, but with the 90% of tourists who never pass through its doors.
A vital tool compared to other destinations when it comes to evolving and getting the lead so that you can keep “talking” to the tourist through the CRM until they come to the destination.
Plus, with Cicerone you’ll save time and eliminate an entire list of day-to-day tasks. Its features includes:
1. The ability to identify the interests and preferences of your target audience. This can include conducting surveys and analysing data on the types of tourists visiting your town or city.
2. Through artificial intelligence, you can create customised itineraries and activities that are tailored to tourists’ unique interests.
3. It has a tourism CRM where you can store all the data you get from your visitors. You can then use this data to create all kinds of loyalty-building campaigns.
1. Create products, promotions, services and events to increase purchase frequency.
You can create specific campaigns for your closest or most loyal customers to ensure that you remain their preferred choice. With so much competition out there, it’s crucial that you continually strive to surprise your customers so that no other competitor gets the upper hand.
2. Detailed follow-up.
You often have to nudge or push your customer to come back. Remind them. This improvement in local businesses uses data and anticipates their needs.
Programme alerts that adapt to each consumer, emails, posts on the website, advertising… in other words, you need to stay in constant communication with your customers.
3. Offer consistency between the image you project and what your customers actually get to see.
There’s no better way to ruin sales than by projecting images or messages that fall short of the reality that your customers will experience when come to your establishment.
Be honest about what you have and what you can offer. Invest in taking care of the details in your local business: image, staff, uniforms, cleanliness, paint, furniture, atmosphere, scents, colours… everything counts.
4. Create products, promotions, services and events to increase purchase frequency.
You can create specific campaigns for your closest or most loyal customers to ensure that you remain their preferred choice. With so much competition out there, it’s crucial that you continually strive to surprise your customers so that no other competitor offering similar services gets the upper hand.
5. Promote local recreational businesses.
This measure increases the presence of local businesses in activities in the town or city, which in turn boosts their image by showcasing their virtues and versatility while keeping tourists from spending money in other towns and cities.
6. Measure the satisfaction of your customers on an ongoing basis.
You’ll never be able to improve if you don’t know what your customers think about you.
Create short surveys once you’ve delivered your product or service. Watch their expressions, listen to their comments, their reactions…
Online surveys are quick, easy and very practical, and you can include a space where customers can suggest aspects that need to be improved and/or leave comments.
It doesn’t seem like much, but these improvements are key for local businesses.
The best way to do this is to conduct an online survey where customers can leave opinions and reviews that you can use to improve your business.
It’s often hard to see what’s going wrong in your own business, so the insight you get from how outsiders see you can be crucial if you want to improve.
7. Create a business guide that can be distributed to the public via tourist information centres, your own businesses and online.
Creating a business guide, distributing it and uploading it to the internet is key ( since it’s the most widely used means of communication as an information showcase for potential tourists). It is important to publicise and present all the possibilities that your town or city has to offer.
The guide should include information on the retail offering, the services provided by each business and information on other establishments and/or activities.
A clear example is Granada, which has created guides to the city’s main monuments in an app format, which also includes info on tourist entertainment options, hotels, restaurants…
The system incorporates services, discounts, booking systems, recommendations and a long list of other options to help consumers make the most out of their time.
The project has worked so well that it is already beginning to pay off, with a +30% increase in average spending per consumer.
8. Create advertising content (graphic formats).
When it comes to communication formats, it’s important to remember that they should make an impact on the target audience. There are loads of people out there that don’t know their way around the internet.
Which is why graphic formats are recommended for urban furniture and supports located at the entrances to towns/cities and/or on the busiest streets.
Audio formats via advertising spots are also recommended.
On the other hand, bags and other merchandising materials are also valuable tools (you can use shopping bags as a way of communicating your brand).
9. Home delivery of purchases.
Establish a coordinated delivery system among the city’s retailers to deliver purchases to people’s homes. This service can be applied to online shopping, where the consumer picks out the products he/she wants to buy.
This is a great way to take advantage of people’s lack of time to strengthen local businesses and increase awareness of local retailers.
10. Digital totem project
Create an app with tourist and local information about the town or city. Then set up digital totems around town that have touch screens where people can check the information and services available.
The main goal of this measure is to make tourist information about the city more widely available and to gather information about users’ habits in the various formats available for accessing information.