2013 saw many changes on the small business front, and 2014 is poised for even more rapid change. Here's a look back at some of the major news from the past year covered on the SinglePlatform blog.
Restaurant Tech News
In 2013, restaurant technology advanced most notably on the payment processing and reservation/POS fronts. Industry front-runners such as Square and OpenTable made product improvements, and big dog Apple entered the arena with a reservation system patent request. It'll be interesting to see whether specialized companies remain on top in 2014, or if giants such as Apple change the game in the coming months.
- Apple Takes on Restaurant Technology With a New Reservation and Ordering System
- OpenTable Purchases Quickcue to Develop Mobile Waitlist Technology
- Square Releases Thinner, More Accurate Card Reader and Eliminates Flat-Fee Payment Option
Social Media News
For seasoned social media networks, the news in 2013 centered around improvements and new features. Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest all introduced new functionality and updates. Last year also confirmed that the SoLoMo (social local mobile) movement is still going strong as neighborhood network Nextdoor received another major round of funding.
- Twitter Introduces Custom Timelines, Tests "Nearby" Service To Show Users More Local Tweets, Adds Tweet Scheduling
- Foursquare Revamps Website, Highlights Nearby Hot Spots, Offers and Tips From Friends
- LinkedIn Launches New Mobile Apps, Introduces Showcase Pages for Companies
- Facebook Adjusts News Feed Algorithm to Emphasize High-Quality Content, Adds Review Buttonfor Place Pages
- Pinterest Adds New Place Pins
- Google+ Rolls out Updates to Hangouts, Photos, and Introduces Custom URLs
- Nextdoor Raises $60 Million in Funding
As the economy began to bounce back in 2013, retail sectors saw more activity. In terms of technology, Apple led the way with highly targeted in-store recommendations; several other companies also introduced location-based recommendations in a variety of formats.
- Apple Launches iBeacon Technology to Target in-Store Shoppers
- TripAdvisor Survey Reveals Uptick in Thanksgiving Travel and Spending
- Small Business Saturday Generates $5.7 Billion in 2013
- Recent Survey Shows Restaurant Gift Card Purchases on the Rise
Social reigned supreme in terms of new advertising formats in 2014. Foursquare, Google, and Twitter all launched new ad types, giving users the ability to better target users and provide content in a more engaging format than traditional banner ads.
- Google Introduces +Post Ads, but Won't Run Ads on Google+
- Foursquare Opens Its Ad Platform to Small Businesses
- Twitter Launches Retargeted Ads on Mobile
Local Search News
There was much more local search news in 2013 than was covered on this blog, but two big highlights made our list: Google's new customer data map feature, and the launch of start-up Openbay.
- Google Introduces Maps Engine Pro to Help Small Businesses Visualize Customer Data
- Meet Openbay, the New OpenTable for Auto Repairs
Franchise Sector News
In 2013, franchises saw greater job growth than the overall private sector, and they're projected to see even more success in 2014 as consumers' economic confidence returns.
- Franchise Sector Powers 20% of Total Private Sector Job Growth in October