When anyone mentions the UK and business these days, it seems to keep coming back to the EU referendum this June and what the decision could mean for British businesses. Well, let’s forget about Brexit for the time being and discuss which other trends are prominent in 2016.
A few years ago anyone writing this list would have mentioned that being online is essential to any business. With the advancement in technology, being online is now just the norm. However, having a site and business that is responsive to the online mobile market is what is now essential. Having a dedicated app for your site increases your exposure even further. Businesses must now adapt their online presence to account for the shift in mobile computing and browsing. It’s also worth noting that younger consumers are entering the market every day. Consumers like Generation Y (also known as Millennials, born somewhere between 1980 and 2000) have grown up in the digital age; they are already living in the digital revolution and they expect their vendors to follow suit if they want a piece of their disposable income.
Social media is not a fad
Regardless of whether you like it or not, social media will impact your business. Whether that impact is positive or negative depends on how you approach social media. Learn it, understand it, utilise it. When people speak of real-time engagement this is where it begins. According to Statista, “In 2014, 76 percent of respondents reported increased audience engagement as a benefit of real-time social engagement.” Utilising Twitter and Facebook provides businesses with honest and real-time feedback from its consumer base. This also ties in directly with maintaining positive customer service and cultivating a healthy business culture. The future is digital but social media is the listening ear you want to be speaking into.
Utilising Big data
Many SME’s may have never even heard the term big data, let alone start utilising it. Fortunately, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. The idea is for businesses to use the data they have gathered around planning and sales to better market goods and services to their desired target market. With the digital age now gearing up, data is constantly being generated, it just comes down to using it for your purpose. You may have heard of terms like IOT (internet of things) and digital disruption, well they all relate back to large amounts of data being collected and analysed. Many small to medium businesses may feel they don’t have enough data to analyse. Well Keith Tully from Smart Data Collective, had this to say, “Believe it or not, if your company has been operating for a year or more, you likely have a tonne of Big Data sitting in your company records. If you’ve been keeping track of your sales in a ledger of some sort (Excel, QuickBooks, etc.), then you have an excellent set of sales statistics to cross-reference with other information in your tool chest.” It’s also important to find a professional who can assist you in sifting through and analysing the findings from your data collection.
The term trend seems to emphasise a temporary acknowledgement however, the topics listed above are not temporary at all; these are trends that will become the norm in a few years and if they are not adopted now your business will be playing catch up and that may be detrimental to you.