Cheaper technology, a chance for small businesses

With the cost of screens and computing power falling, small  and local businesses have a better chance to reach potential customers.

In the days of billboards and printed pamphlets, local shops or service providers could hardly start an effective, sustainable ad campaign with a reasonable budget. Initial costs for design, offset, print, billboard and distribution often outweighed the, potential, financial benefits.

The digital revolution has opened an array of new possibilities for businesses with a limited budget. Examples can be seen all over the place, small screens showing product information in grocery stores, larger screens in supermarkets promoting products or showing the latest bargains and even billboards are being replaced by large multimedia screens that sometimes also provide free Wifi as an extra service to shoppers.

Recently I noticed at a drugstore that the screen on the cash register also showed ads promoting other local stores. Apparently it was something like a local network, where shop owners could buy ad-time on all participating stations for a small monthly fee.

Product presentations and exhibitions are following the trend too. Interactive screens are already being used to enhance visitor experience, and many have set their hopes on  augmented reality for future presentations. With the rising cost of stands, the new technologies could also help save expenses by reducing the size and maintenance costs of exhibition stands without reducing the impact.

A good social media presence, which practically costs nothing, coupled with the possibilities above can attract a lot of attention, even to the smallest corner shop, for a fraction of what a billboard ad would have cost 10 or more years ago.