2014 looks set to be a big year for tech and businesses need to stay up to date with the latest trends to capitalize effectively. Let’s take a look at 5 of the big business trends expected for the coming year.
In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about government surveillance of private communications data, many see online privacy as one of the big battles to be waged for the future of the web. Businesses such as Tor are promoting themselves on their ability to guarantee online anonymity and privacy for users. Meanwhile, many web users are learning that their so-called ‘free’ services actually cost a lot in terms of the private information they must hand over. However, with companies like Facebook dependent on selling users’ data to businesses in order to generate profits, the online privacy war looks set to rage well beyond 2014.
Online advertising is still commonly sold on a pay-per-click basis but new measuring techniques are starting to question the merits of this strategy for advertisers. Research has revealed that shoppers are more likely to interact with an advert when they aren’t forced to navigate away from their browsing page. Rather than measuring clicks on an ad as a rate of success, marketers are seeking more personalized ways of converting and retaining customers. Customer loyalty has dropped off dramatically in an age of instant and abundant choice so knowing what makes your own customers tick and providing reasons to remain loyal is becoming ever more important.
Despite the fact that 4/5th of UK business credit still comes from banks, there’s a widespread perception that the banks aren’t doing enough to help businesses access funds. At the same time, many new forms of lending – including equity financing, peer-to-peer lending and merchant cash advances – are providing businesses with viable alternatives that offer less risk. A recent study by YouGov showed that nearly 2/3 of businesses would rather secure additional funds against business cashflow than personal assets and this explains why Merchant Cash Advances and other lending solutions are proving increasingly popular.
Social Media for Brands
Every business wants to get onboard social media these days and if your company doesn’t yet have a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account, you’re almost certainly losing customers to more tech-savvy rivals. However, the key to creating a “twitterstorm” or a viral Instagram is in knowing how to engage with consumers and turn them on to your products without resorting to corporate-speak or obvious selling. Brands have learned that if they interact with customers on a human level and tailor personal responses to enquiries, they’re more likely to receive positive feedback and encourage customer loyalty.
The Rise of E-Commerce
The juggernaut growth of online shopping looks set to continue in 2014 as more consumers shed their inhibitions about shopping online while mobile markets provide millions more with access to e-commerce platforms. With more people using mobile phones and tablets to shop online, businesses must ensure their websites are fully optimized so that pages can be read and saved, and shopping and paying methods seamlessly linked, across a wide variety of digital platforms.
For businesses looking to the future, both online and off, 2014 promises to be an exciting year!