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The use of Artificial Intelligence has long been the purview of Big Business with the budget to use and access Big Data. Advances in AI, however, are bringing AI capabilities to even the smallest of businesses. This is particularly important at a time when industry giants like Amazon are looking to take over even the smallest neighborhood markets. Here are 3 ways that AI can help your small business.


  1. Recognize small market fluctuations to make big gains or stop big losses


A local bakery owner may not notice a sudden 12% increase in sales on the third Thursday of every month for 3 months running, but analytics of Quickbooks and Square can. It may take several months for a business owner to recognize that a frequent customer is no longer stopping by as regularly, but analytics can recognize it immediately. By recognizing small patterns, small business owners can investigate the cause, which can allow them to turn small increases into big gains and stem big losses.


  1. Market testing with minimal investment


One of the biggest challenges of marketing for both small and large businesses alike is determining actual conversion rates. Just getting more people in the door doesn’t do a whole lot of good if it doesn’t lead to an increase in sales and sometimes an increase in sales may actually have nothing to do with your marketing efforts. Advanced analytics is able to follow a direct trail all the way from initial contact to final sale. What’s more, AI can give you better insight into exactly why one contact resulted in a sale and another did not.


  1. Better resource management


The laws of supply and demand affect all businesses, but even a slight misjudgment can hit small businesses the hardest. Small businesses have smaller margins, which also means less margin for error. If a marketing effort is such a success that a small business can’t meet demand, they not only lose sales but they may even lose customers to a competitor that can meet it. If they overestimate the success of a marketing campaign, they end up with excess inventory or staff and lose money. Artificial intelligence can help businesses much more accurately predict the outcomes of specific marketing efforts to better manage supply and demand and keep their business firmly in the black.