Businesses are going online, even the biggest companies are already following the trend. If you’d notice, there’s a big number of RTW retailers (ready to wear), accessories and perfumes who get their supplies from bigger importers and are now selling via Facebook and Instagram. That’s a testament that even micro businesses see the potential of selling their items online, which brings us to the conclusion that the internet has shaped not only the way we work, but also the way we do business.
But what are the ways that technology is transforming your business? Here are some key trends from Tim Walker of realbusiness.co.uk, which businesses need to watch out for:
1. The cloud has become the platform for change
There is no longer a question of whether your business should be using the cloud – it is a certainty that this is where the next generation of solutions will be based. Cloud services take away issues around hardware costs and obsolete systems and create an agile, scalable, and cost-effective platform for change.
Perhaps most importantly, cloud-based solutions equip businesses to take full advantage of the three most powerful technology-driven tools – the so-called “interconnection forces” of mobile, social media and big data.
2. Marathon or sprint, or both?
In the IT world, we talk about “bimodal capability” – the ability to operate at two different speeds.
This recognizes that many businesses will need to continue to operate safe and reliable traditional IT systems while cultivating a more innovative and fluid capability that takes advantage of the continuous flow of information in the digital world.
In any business, the ability to apply the right solution to the task in hand will be crucial in the future.
3. All business are digital now
Business analysts predict that failure to seamlessly migrate important business processes online can result in 25% of businesses losing their market position in the coming years.
As the competition intensifies, companies are focusing more into improving the products and services that they offer to maintain their market position. But equally important as the products and services offered is how businesses engage their end customers. Since a large portion of the entire consumer base is online, the way to engage them should also happen online.
It is evident that online forums, “collab” communities, and social communities take a huge part in influencing the way consumer behave and purchase. Failure to engage your target audience and consume only means, failing to defend your market position.
4. IoT – Internet of Things
As discussed in the previous item, internet really has shaped the way we live and interact with brands and companies. The internet’s interconnectedness of the internet paved way to the continuous development and exploration about the Internet of Things or IoT.
Internet of things is the integration of technology into everyday items. IT analysts foresee that by 2020, more than 50 per cent of domestic objects will be able to communicate in some way with a smartphone – for example, a fridge could automatically add a depleted food item to the online shop, a sports shirt could be re-ordered after a specified number of washes and hospital medical cabinets could auto-replenish.
5. Customers can be disruptive
There is often talk of disruptive technology – but the most disruptive thing in the market today is not the technology, but the customer.
Today’s buyers are more independent and more informed than ever before – they get their information from a myriad of sources and carry out their own product research.
It is no longer possible to own a buyer’s journey in the way that you used to – and they are far less likely to follow the conventional route through your CRM system.
Instead, we need to identify critical points along the buying journey and make sure we are maximizing opportunities to engage potential customers digitally and in person. Stepping out of our comfort zone, setting goals and taking action are the keys to survival.
6. Technology is changing competition
In a world where customers can quickly and relatively effortlessly research and compare products and services, the focus has shifted from the products themselves to the “experience” around those products.
This makes it more important than ever for businesses to deliver innovation and outstanding customer service to make our businesses stand out from the rest.
7. Every interaction or touch point makes an impression
Getting a customer on board is a tough act – but keeping them is the real challenge.
Every interaction you have with a customer has a bearing on their opinion of your business. And while it takes a long time to build up trust, it is easy to lose it quickly.
Conversely, remember that buyers are extremely likely to buy when they trust you and value has been demonstrated, particularly if you can help them maximize value from existing investment.
If there is a good relationship and constant review and innovation, it is easier to persuade an existing customer to buy more from you than it is to recruit a new one.
8. It’s time to bring our strategies up to date
Traditional sales models haven’t really changed since the 1880s – the problem being that it puts the customer last in a world where the balance of power has changed.
The days of being able to impose your product or business model on a prospect are long gone. Now the buyer of a product or service will be in a much stronger position and far better informed about what you and your rivals can offer.
The demands of the modern customer require new sales skills that offer flexibility based on their needs. Look at your incentive plans and the structure of your sales offering – how can you innovate in a way that puts the customer first?
9. This is only the beginning
We have only touched the surface of the way our business ecosystems are evolving – and the future will bring yet more change.
Ensuring that we understand now how market forces are going to impact our strategies down the line will ensure that we are well-prepared for whatever comes our way.
Now is the time to lay the groundwork. Review your “sales funnel” to ensure you are fluid in your approach.
The fast moving phase of consumption and the way consumer purchase services and products are forcing businesses to innovate and raise the bar of competition. The technology in business sector is always about engaging the end-consumer and giving them the best experience to keep them.