Major Changes to Business Operations After the Digital Revolution
It’s hard to imagine a time when technology wasn’t woven into almost every part of our day, but it doesn’t stop with personal use. Since the start of the Digital Revolution in the 1980s, technology has been effectively changing businesses from communication all the way to the infrastructure. In the past 30 years, technology and those in the IT industry have become an invaluable resource for progress and development. Just think, 5-10 years ago social media was struggling to create a consumer use, cell-phones were used simply for communication, and the App Generation was just beginning. Look at where we are today! It’s hard to think about all the ways that we will progress in the coming future, but as technology continually innovates we can be sure that this will happen. We looked at the top five ways that technology has impacted this generation of business and why we think they will continue to be impactful in the future.
Millennials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living population, based on U.S. Census Bureau statistics in 2015. Since the largest demographic of consumers are now a younger, more tech-savvy crowd, businesses have had to change strategies and become more innovative in the way they reach this customer. For one, Millennials are mobile. Mobile use has risen in conjunction with the growth of this demographic and their mobile-device has almost become an extension of their body. (Not really, but it’s estimated that an average user will spend 23 days a year looking at their phone).
Consumers are using their phones to shop, find local businesses, read and write reviews on products, and interact with their friends and family. So much so, that Google adjusted their algorithm to ensure that mobile-friendly websites are the forefront of search results. Mobile devices have come a long way in the past five years. Smartphones and tablets give users all the abilities they have on their computers; regardless of location. Businesses can use mobile devices for content creation and marketing as well as back-end procedures like invoicing and shipping with the ease of clicking a button through the addition of Apps.
Connected Business World.
Did you know that the number of active mobile devices has now surpassed the number of humans on the planet? Yep, according to a running total by GSMA, the number of mobile devices is around 7.9 billion and the current global population is somewhere between 7.19 and 7.2 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2015. While the number of gadgets is more than the population (and growing 5x faster) not everyone owns a device. The GSMA running total is around 4.8 billion unique mobile users. So, what does this mean for our world? Well, for one, we are more connected than ever.
Think about it. If you send someone an email and don’t hear back, you can call them on your phone. Still no answer? Shoot them a text message. Haven’t heard back? Log onto Facebook and send them a message. Even if you aren’t “friends” with someone, it’s incredibly (and frighteningly) easy to find the person that you’re looking for on social media with a few searches and very little information. For businesses, this means you not only have ways to instantly speak to your audience, you also have a vast variety of mediums to choose where you want to interact with your customer.
Knowing Your Consumer.
Analytics services offer businesses the ability to segment customers and prospects into detailed groups based on their demographics. This ability allows businesses to get more from their marketing dollars because they can target specifically towards certain segments based on their demographics or habits rather than blanket marketing all customers in the same way. Personalized marketing strategies with real-time feedback allow for businesses to create more conversions.
“The use of technology greatly reduces the guesswork in making decisions,” responded
Brian Staver, local business owner, when asked how technology has affected his business strategy.
Information gathered through analytics also gives businesses insight into the customer’s journey with their product or service. Instead of assuming how consumers arrive and interact with the site, analytics tracks how a consumer found the site, how long they were on the site, what they do on the site and ultimately where they leave the site. Analyzing these details gives insight on possible roadblocks that customers are running into and making them leave the site or hotspots on your site that are large traffic drivers.
As the population becomes connected via social networks, businesses follow suit. It’s almost unheard of for a business not to have an online presence using either a website or at the very least a Facebook profile for their business. Millennials are known to check out businesses credibility online and compare to surrounding businesses before making their purchase. We also know that Millennials are very much influenced by what their “personal network” recommends. It’s no longer acceptable for businesses to have lackluster customer service, misleading information from their site to their actual product or not deliver on time without running the risk of scathing online reviews.
Being proactive on social networks by keeping profiles up-to-date, interacting with customers on a personal basis, and posting relevant information for their customers are all crucial in establishing your online credibility. Today is a buyer-centric economy and we are dealing with consumers that are making informed buying decisions. An estimated 82% of consumers conduct research online before making a purchase.
Finally, and most importantly, we believe, the influx of technology has allowed businesses to become extremely efficient. Processes that were mundane and repetitive can now be automated through software applications. Plus, software is now accessible to small businesses at a manageable cost which can level the playing field between small businesses and larger corporations. Business owners can free up some of their time, by utilizing accounting, marketing and communication programs that streamline their processes. This allows them to focus on progression and looking at their entire business to find areas for improvement or opportunities for growth.
“Technology assists in finding and creating efficiencies that increase profit,” stated Staver.
Whether you are an established business owner or an entrepreneur that is just beginning, the integration of technology into your business processes has very positive effects on the success of your business. Not only is technology changing the ways of business, but it’s evolving all the time and happening fast. To stay relevant, business owners must be adapting their businesses to these changes.