It’s little secret the business landscape is rapidly shifting. Between tech disruption and a new generation of workers and consumers, business is being called on to evolve and embrace a new era.
It’s an age where the expectations are high, the time to adapt is short and the only constant is that the goal posts keep moving.
As thought leader Jonathon Macdonald recently noted: “Change is the only certainty. Today is the slowest rate of change we will ever experience. And those who are the most adaptive to change stand the greatest chance to survival.”
So as that rate of change accelerates, here’s an insight into eight business trends you can’t afford to ignore…
A mobile workforce and consumer
Driven by the rapid uptake of smart phones and facilitated by the Cloud, both today’s consumer and worker are now increasingly mobile.
Brand research is conducted on the run, shopping is completed on a smartphone, and the office is no longer constricted to a 9am to 5pm schedule, nor a single static site.
In terms of the consumer, statistics indicate 95 per cent of mobile internet users look up local information on their phones for the purpose of calling or visiting a business while over half of all online transactions are now conducted on mobile device.
And the growth in a mobile workforce is reflecting a similar rise. Strategy Analytics notes there were 1.52 billion mobile workers in 2017, accounting for 39.3 per cent of the global workforce.
That figure is only set to increase over the coming years, with a prediction that 1.88 billion workers will be mobile by 2023, accounting for 43.3 per cent of the global workforce.
They further note three key factors are diving this trend: globalisation, mobile devices, and mobile internet.
As the consumer embraces the mobile age, e-Commerce continues to increase.
According to eMarketer, retail e-commerce sales reached $2.3 trillion in 2017, a 23.2 per cent increase over the previous year.
The mobile share of this stood at 58.9 percent, or $1.4 trillion.
They further note that by 2021, mobile e-commerce could rake in some $3.5 trillion and then make up almost three quarters (72.9 per cent) of e-commerce sales.
Business ignores this consumer at their peril, with a mobile optomised site, and easy-to-navigate e-commerce capability among the key features the mobile customer seeks.
The customer experience
E-commerce is just one component of “the customer experience” which has emerged as one of the big-ticket trends of recent years. The customer experience sees consumers offered a personalised interaction with a brand that extends through every single touchpoint.
From the first time they encounter a website, to the experience they have in person and the quality of the products they buy or the services they use, the customer experience should drive every interaction with a brand.
Importantly the results of this customer experience are reaching further than they ever have before…courtesy of the phenomenon that is the internet and social media.
The social media reality
Business is only as good as the reputation it has and in a mobile, internet driven world this reputation plays out in real time through referrals, recommendations and reviews on search engines and social media.
This new social media reality requires business to be more brand aware and more responsive than ever before, with the finger consistently on the pulse of how they’re perceived.
A brave new marketing frontier
Social media is just one element of what’s transpiring across the brave new marketing frontier where business is required to be more nimble, more innovative and more influential than ever before.
No longer is it sufficient to advertise your services and simply tout your wares. Instead brands are being called on to inform, interact and influence. To stand out they need to be innovate and educate as part of a two-way dialogue with their consumer.
Critically, this comes during an era where the consumer is more wary of advertising and more socially conscious than ever before.
Today’s loyal customer is not just looking for their business of choice to do something well but to mean something important and act on that beliefs.
The work/life balance
As consumer expectations of a business increase, they also rise within it. A new generation of workers is shaking the shackles of a 50-year career with one company and abandoning the 40-hour working week.
Instead, for employees it’s about the work/life balance where mobile is harnessed to offer flexibility and a person will change careers at least six times.
It comes as the Millennial generation rises through the ranks of the workplace. Tipped to comprise 42 per cent of the Australian workforce by 2025, they value flexibility more than pay.
Business Insider states: “Today’s employees demand that their work supports their life, not the other way around… with a recent study revealing 37 per cent of workers would change jobs if they could work from where they want at least part of the time.
“The most prominent by-product of the demand for flexible working is the explosion of the global co-working industry,” Business Insider continues
“Despite wayward warnings in the 80s that technological developments would result in entirely home-based working, the emergence of the co-working space has shown how employees desire a blend between the home and the office.
“It is estimated that there will be over five million people co-working globally by 2022, with industry starting to lose the “startup only” stigma as the concept is attracting attention from not only small to medium businesses, but also larger corporates.”
Meanwhile Deloitte notes the millennial workforce “believe culture is more important than money: 67 per cent rate a positive work environment as the most important consideration when choosing a new employer (compared to 52 per cent globally)”
The lure of flexibility, the desire for improved culture, and the ready availability of mobile technology is also seeing more and more people embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, with the “gig economy” prompting careers to take an entirely different turn.
Forbes states this may even see freelance workers comprise the majority of the workforce by 2027.
Internet of Things
Facilitating everything from the flexible workforce to e-commerce and even the office environment is the increasing proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Set to revolutionise how our cities, workplaces, manufacturing and homes operate, the Internet of Things will automate many of the daily tasks we perform.
Defined as all the items that connect via the internet, the IoT encompasses everything from sensors to voice assistants, smart fridges and smart temperature control.
Already it’s changing the shape of shopping courtesy of voice assistants in our home that help us source and buy the latest fashion, food and merchandise.
It’s transforming our transport systems to reduce congestion, automating our workplaces to offer greater productivity and a healthier work environment, and also improving efficiency across agriculture and manufacturing.
In fact, the rise of all these interconnected devices is expected to be so rapid, Statista predicts it will treble from 23.14 billion connected items in 2018 to 75.44 billion in the next seven years.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
The more connected we are, the more data we have. And that’s driving a surge of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
This year’s Mary Meeker report noted machine learning and artificial intelligence were a of focus of most major technology brands including Google, Apple and Amazon.
From chatbots that answer consumer queries 24/7 to data that enables better decision making, AI and machine learning heralds the pinnacle of the tech revolution.
It will allow business to better understand their consumer, better cater to the needs and truly hone the customer experience.
Forbes explains inside a business, the benefits will also be far-reaching.
“Implementing machine learning and AI is going to have a major impact on your organisation’s efficiency. Intelligent systems can automate a great amount of your work and help reduce the risk of human errors. As time goes by, your systems will learn and get smarter. It will result in better outcomes.”
And its impact across all areas will be extensive, as noted by Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, who said: “AI is one of the most important things humanity is working on. It is more profound than electricity or fire.”
At Openseed we work with business to understand the internet and marketing playing field, and how you can harness it to showcase your strengths.
We create intuitive branding, websites and quality content strategies that reflect the internet trends as they are now and will be in the future. Among the tools we harness to leverage your content for the greatest reach is Video, and we employ it on websites, social media and within advertising campaigns.
We do so in the knowledge great marketing is all about getting to the heart of your business message to help your business rank foremost on Google and at the front of your consumer’s mind. You can learn more about our services here or contact us directly to learn more about how we can help.