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Sharpen Your Competitive Advantage: Using IT to Differentiate Your Business

It goes without saying that, in highly competitive markets, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need to carve out a niche in which they outshine their competitors. Many SMBs hone their competitive advantage by focusing exclusively on development of innovative products or services. Offering a superior product is a fabulous way of differentiating your business, but an angle that SMBs often ignore is use of IT infrastructure to enhance competitive advantage.

Your IT may seem like a given, like a set of tools that merely help you get through the day’s tasks. But the truth is that IT has grown into a monumental strategic resource for businesses of all sizes. Indeed, IT has become so tightly intertwined with business strategy that some experts propose that all businesses are now technology businesses.


Ways to Use IT to Enhance Competitive Advantage

Enhance Your Online Presence:

Today’s customers use online platforms to conduct pre-purchase research like never before. Many SMBs continue to use outdated and sluggish websites, but the customers of today are looking for more. In fact, 79% of customers report that they would be less likely to return to an online site if they weren’t happy with its speed1. In other words, slow websites lose customers. Getting the right foundational IT infrastructure can help you to develop a website that is modern, fast, and intuitive for customers. Expanding your online presence into social media channels gives you an edge as well, as customers are increasingly using social media to learn about and engage with brands.

Offer E-commerce Options:

Adding e-commerce options is an excellent way of expanding your customer base and taking a larger share of the market. Today’s buyers are picky about their purchasing channels, and 40% of consumers say that they won’t buy from a company that doesn’t offer their preferred channel2. With 55% of customers reporting a preference for fully online or hybrid (i.e., combination of in-store and online) shopping, adding online options is a great way of attracting customers away from your competitors3.

Offer Innovative Payment Options:

In addition to preferred buying channels, today’s customers also want to be able to use their preferred payment method when making a purchase. The options for payment methods have exploded over the last several years, and include solutions like digital wallets, contactless payments, and mobile payment solutions. Having multiple payment options simplifies the checkout process for your customers and enhances their experience with your brand.


Personalize the Customer Experience:

Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms allow businesses to retain information about customers that can be used to create a personalized experience. Importantly, 75% of customers say they are more likely to buy from companies that recognize them by name, know their purchase history, and suggest new products based on their purchase history4. Customers will want to be assured that their personal information does not fall into the wrong hands, so a multi-layered cybersecurity regimen is a must.


Improve Speed and Accuracy of Service:

The speed and accuracy of your service can set you apart from competitors. Take advantage of solutions like cloud-based project management platforms, collaboration and communication applications, and automation software to amplify productivity while reducing costs. Your business can also optimize supply chain management through the use of IT solutions to manage inventory tracking and logistics, improving both speed and accuracy of order fulfillment.


Add Self-Service Options to Website:

Although customers appreciate and expect companies to provide live communication with company representatives for certain types of questions, for some types of inquiries, customers now show a strong preference for self-service options. Specifically, 68% of customers prefer using self-service options to conduct foundational research and to get answers to simple questions5. Such options might take the form of self-service portals on your website, or various fact sheets or knowledge bases that they can access online independently.

By taking advantage of the plethora of modern technologies available today, SMBs can differentiate themselves, elevate customer experience, boost operational efficiency, and gain a competitive edge in the market.

NexusTek helps SMBs to strengthen their competitive advantage by providing strategic IT consulting, best-in-class cybersecurity solutions, modern workplace applications, top-tier cloud solutions, and managed IT to keep your infrastructure running smoothly.

Would you like to talk with an expert about using IT to strengthen your competitive advantage?


  1. Wilson, A. (2022). Why site speed is so important: Conversions, loyalty, and Google search ranking. Shopify.,users%20by%20up%20to%2027%25
  2. (2019). State of the connected customer, third edition.
  3. Haller, K., Wallace, M., Cheung, J., & Gupta, S. (2022). Consumers want it all: Hybrid shopping, sustainability, and purpose-driven brands. IBM.
  4. (2022, August 15). How customer experience drives digital transformation.
  5. (2019). State of the connected customer, third edition.