It’s always important to stay on top of business-changing trends, both within and outside of your industry. You need to prepare for the changes you’re likely to see in the near future. Let’s look at some of the most important trends that are in the process of reshaping how your business will work in the years to come.
The Emergence Of Newer, More Convenient Payment Methods.
As technology becomes more sophisticated and the demand for speed and privacy increase, the payment methods offered will have to develop along with them. The rise of Bitcoin in 2017 led to what many saw as an alternate currency system. While its value has fluctuated wildly since then, the demand is there for more flexible ways of handling money than banks have traditionally offered.
The desire for newer and better ways to pay goes beyond updating credit cards with chips. Even Bitcoin doesn’t scratch the surface, because other applications have started to fill the needs of a mobile population. Paypal, Venmo, and vendor-specific apps like Starbucks allow payments from a phone or via the internet. Adopting these new ways is going to be vital to attracting and keeping customers in years to come.
Artificial Intelligence Becomes More Capable Than Ever.
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has long been a bastion of science fiction works. However, recent years have seen AI becoming a reality in our everyday lives as well. In fact, it has led to significant improvements in both customer experience and business operations.
For example, chatbots are now commonplace on many business websites. Chatbots are designed to help guide customers to the information they need. The best chatbot services can learn specific inputs and respond to them in ways they weren’t explicitly programmed to. Virtual assistants, image recognition, and other advances can handle a lot of the work humans previously needed to do. These forms of machine learning are critical to your future bottom line.
Shipping Will Become Even More Competitive.
Fast and free shipping has become a significant priority to customers, and it will be crucial in their future purchasing decisions. Far from the “six to eight weeks for delivery” model of yesteryear, customers want their merchandise fast, and they want it cheap. If you’re not meeting that demand, you risk falling behind competitors who offer similar merchandise with better shipping options.
Online retail has come to dominate Black Friday in recent years. Because of that, free shipping is practically a must if you want to drive the earning potential that comes with the season. It’s at least as important as the cost of the actual products. Shipping options can make or break your brand perception. The fact that major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Home Depot have made such strides in their shipping options is a testament to that.
The Gig Economy Continues To Expand.
Recent estimates show that as many as 75 million Americans (or slightly less than 25% of the US population) participates in the gig economy. Rather than relying solely (or at all) on a single full-time job, members of the gig economy cobble a living together from multiple, lesser income streams.
There are many reasons for people to enter the gig economy. A big one is flexible scheduling, allowing people to meet the demands of their personal lives. Others use it as a way to launch their own businesses. Traditional full-time work has been steadily losing ground to the gig economy. That pattern doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.
The Availability Of Remote Work Will Become More Of A Priority For The Workforce.
Right up there with the gig economy is the remote workforce. Remote workers do still have traditional 9-5 jobs but do so partly or entirely outside the office. In fact, a Gallup poll shows that a staggering 43% of workers are now working at least part of the time from home. The appeal is obvious: no commute, you can work in your pajamas if you want, and as long as you produce what you’re supposed to, you’ll succeed.There are benefits to the employer, as well. The costs of renting and operating a formal office can be reduced or eliminated entirely with a distributed (remote) workforce. Studies have also shown that productivity goes up when employees are working from home. Look for this trend to continue developing in the years to come.
The business world is an ever-shifting entity. Still, if you pay attention to the trends discussed above, you’ll be well-prepared to handle the changing demands and priorities your business will face in the years to come.