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Top Business Trends to Look Out for in 2018

  • Posted by Adam Hoff
  • 18 September 2018
  • #boontech

Your business is in danger of being left behind. If you are the type that quickly settles into a routine as soon as you accomplish something, then you run the risk of being passed up by the latest trends in the business world today. Changes are occurring at such an alarming rate that many are left wondering what will happen next. Technology itself is changing very rapidly.

You are therefore expected to be on top of your game as far as these emerging trends are concerned. You will need to do better than your forebears in an endeavor to succeed in your business. As a business owner, you are expected to take advantage of the changes so that can achieve quality output with less money and time. Those who are unprepared for such changes will end up suffering and possibly losing the business because the market is much more competitive.

But the challenge comes right from the word go. How do you decide for instance, which trends are the right ones to follow? There are so many trends that for the fainthearted, it’s safer to just sit back and watch it all happening. Otherwise, you will equally be at risk for following up on something that no longer works.

So, how and where do you start from?

First of all, identify the changes taking place. You can only make a sober decision when you know exactly what is going on around you. This list of the top business trends in 2018 will hopefully help you make an informed decision.  

Augmented Intelligence

Augmented Intelligence (AI) is much more than just artificial intelligence. It involves the cooperation between man and machine to improve efficiency. This technology is already being implemented across many business sectors. Although the changes are gradual, they are slowly gaining momentum as there is increased demand for performance at work.  

  • Automotive: workers on the assembly line are using software that is powered by AI and robotics so that the increased demand can be met. The result is the increasing affordability of advanced cars for the average consumer.

  • Airlines: the AI technology plays a crucial role in the airline industry. In case there is a delay in a flight, the attendants are automatically notified by the system. Those passengers likely to miss their flights are then notified and instructions provided for further action.

  • Marketing: Marketing has also taken up AI to augment personnel productivity. Online stores e.g. Amazon, for example, use AI for dynamic pricing. They are able to leverage your spending habits to determine how much you are willing to pay for a certain product. They do this on the understanding that the less frequent buyers will pay less while loyal customers can pay more.

  • Warehousing: AI is used in warehousing to automate and augment the product distribution process. Where numerous products are to be sorted, packaged and distributed without making an error, complete automation can make the process easier and much more efficient.

Even though it could be completely possible for businesses to replace workers, they are choosing to instead augment man’s effort with machine capability so that the productivity is amplified.

Artificial Intelligence is moving into the mainstream

Artificial intelligence is quickly entering the mainstream as several companies are adopting it into their products and services. Companies such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon have already incorporated it into the products and services.

It’s important to note that these organizations are not just creating standalone devices with AI capability. They are striving to incorporate AI into their every device and integrate it in all their in-house and external applications. From the onset, this appears like good news. Not many people are expected to lose their jobs as a result of being replaced by technology, at least for now.

Automation is expected to pick up dramatically

The challenges experienced by personnel in the business today is creating a rising demand for automation. Increasingly, companies are thinking of ways through which to achieve complete automation by means of true artificial intelligence.

Some businesses have already chosen to go this way: some trucking companies are replacing truck drivers with driverless vehicles, workers and personnel in some industries that are considered low paid are being replaced by robots. This is precipitated by rapid growth in some business sectors that create a personnel deficit because of inadequate training.

Even some jobs that were considered traditional and difficult to automate are actually being automated. Sales, hotel and fast food restaurant attendants and even cashiers are slowly falling along the road as robots take up their jobs. It just doesn’t matter whether it’s a white collar or blue collar job.

The expected end of quality and the rise of the experience economy

Customers nowadays are valuing experience much more than quality. In the past, you were able to win the loyalty if your customers by consistently providing quality goods and services. But this is no longer the case.  

It doesn’t mean that quality is no longer a concern, it only means that it comes secondary to experience. Clients are willing to spend more of their money on dinner dates, trips and concerts since they are looking for that wonderful experience. The emotional connection is what they want. They, therefore, will be looking for companies with which they share the same values.

And they want these firms to speak their language in terms of emotions and reason.

This means that the business that is able to consistently provide the wonderful experience will have loyal clients.  And as long as the experience and values are granted, you can get the clients to pay anything you want for it.

The collapse of the brick and mortar enterprise

Brick and mortar enterprises are increasingly collapsing as the online store rises to prominence. It’s estimated that close to half of the 1200 shopping malls currently operating in the US will be closed by the year 2023.

This trend is as a result of high retail debt that is making it unprofitable to continue operating such a business in the face of stiff competition from the online store giants. And the increasing demand for experience by the customers is another contributor to this trend. And because it’s taking longer to adjust to this new paradigm, more and more retailers are expected to collapse with time.

Values are gaining prominence over the bottom line

Companies are finding out that values actually matter more than their bottom line. A movement started a few years back illustrates the truth of this assertion. Some organizations decided to forego their most productive sales day – the Black Friday. Some opted for closing their stores and giving their employees a day off. Others chose to donate to charity their proceeds on that particular day. The results were quite astounding. Their sales and revenues increased, some to double, triple and even quadruple what they normally expected.

This goes to show that customers respond positively to shared values. Organizations that put this into consideration into action when making decisions have been rewarded handsomely by customer loyalty. And this trend is expected to grow with time.

A study carried out regarding this issue, dubbed the Meaningful Brands Study found out the following:

  •    Values have consistently driven business in the recent past
  •    It wouldn’t matter to consumers if more than 74 percent of the existing brands exited the market
  •    84 percent of clients expected existing brands to give content.
  •    Of the content currently produced by brands, 60 percent was termed as irrelevant or of poor quality.
  •    While 75 percent of clients expected brands to contribute more to their wellbeing and quality of life, only about 40 percent believe the brands are actually doing so.
  •    Less than 27% of all brands in use today actually is responsible for the improved quality of life and wellbeing.

 

Customers always have treated shared values as important. And the demand for such vales is only going to increase. And they expect that you as the business owner will strive to understand and appreciate what they value most. You should, therefore, be able to use the data at your disposal to make their life better.

The increasing monopoly of large corporations

Among the largest corporations in the world are Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. These companies have placed themselves in such a way that they have become monopolies in the services they provide. They have been able to achieve this by building a system around family friends and the things you love most. And these means that their hold on the market is only going to increase.

Because of their privileged position, they are able to deal with competition through either acquiring them, designing or creating new products or coming up with product updates. This means that they will continually embed themselves deeper and deeper into the market. Any other firm wishing to succeed will have to find a way to work with them or take advantage of their services.  

The Blockchain technology

Blockchain is an entirely new and different way of dealing with and processing information. Bitcoin is just a small part of the entire ocean that is blockchain. Think of it as an alternative way of processing transactions or keeping records. The technology has found its way into healthcare and financial technology as well.

And, although individual currencies like currencies like Bitcoin are bound to fluctuate, the blockchain technology itself is as solid as a rock. Expect it therefore to stay.

Be prepared.

All you need to do is prepare for these changes. The more prepared you are, the better it will be for you to in keeping with them.

Avoid the temptation to settle when you have found a routine that works wonders for your business. If you want to keep your business afloat in this fast changing world you will need to know how to deal with these emerging trends. Choose those that are useful and adapt them to your business so as to keep moving forward.