This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com - #Growing Your Business
From social apps to machine learning, a handful of buzzing innovations with no signs of slowing down.
5 min read
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If you are an entrepreneur, you know how competitive the business world can be. In order to stay on top, you need to have your finger on the pulse of modern technology and keep up with the latest innovations. With that in mind, here are five unique trends that are expected to drive business growth in the coming year and beyond.
1. Capturing the Youth Demographic
Older readers may remember a time before the internet, but for younger generations, it’s an essential part of everything they do. And as they age and make up more of the consumer market, companies must do their best to relate by moving their marketing to a digital platform. Take TikTok, the mobile-centric video platform that has experienced crazy growth in the past few years. With 500 million active users worldwide, it ranks ninth in that category among social-networking sites, ahead of LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat.
YouTube has also made digital marketing more accessible to this audience. According to a recent VidMob survey, “59 percent of Gen Z respondents said they use their YouTube app a lot more than they did a year prior,” showing that this market is just getting started.
2. Going Green Is Picking Up Steam
More people are adopting a green lifestyle. Beyond Meat, maker of plant-based proteins, has increased its stock prices by more than three times since its IPO launch. But for consumers, the eco-conscious lifestyle doesn’t stop at vegetarian diets and organic hygiene products. Lunya, a popular women’s-clothing maker, constructs its products from natural fabrics and fibers, and its sleepwear and intimates lines use Pima cotton for durability and comfort. Using natural materials lowers the carbon footprint of their business, as well as that of the individual consumer.
According to Small Business Trends, when it comes to tapping new consumers in an already-crowded green market, “The answer may lie in supplying consumers with details — and authenticity.” It’s not enough to be green anymore; you have to help the customer understand what making eco-friendly choices means for you and them.
3. Machine Learning and AI Advances
The artificial-intelligence industry is continuing to grow and will have a significant impact on the world economy in the coming years. Even smaller uses of AI and algorithms can improve the user experience in nearly all industries. Spotify, for one, uses artificial intelligence to make the listening experience more personal by creating customized sessions for each user.
AI is also transforming customer service. As Omer Khan, founder and CEO of VividTech told Entrepreneur, “Today’s chatbots and virtual assistants are able to handle more customer service tasks than ever before to better facilitate the customer journey. As they utilize machine learning to better respond to customer requests, these interactions become even more efficient.” Through the smart use of technology, business and consumers will all benefit.
4. E-Commerce Will Continue to Dominate
In the coming four years, global e-commerce is expected to reach around $5 trillion, as reported by Statista, causing many retailers to move investments from brick-and-mortar storefronts to online stores. Fashion Nova has utilized the power of online shopping with only a small handful of physical locations, leveraging social media to generate hundreds of millions in sales. They even created a state-of-the-art warehouse that can ship out orders faster. As more specialized retailers appear on the market, there seems to be no limit to what can be sold online.
5. All-Encompassing Digital Platforms Will Keep Rising
As companies look to provide more services and options to their customers, demand has risen for all-in-one platforms to handle financial transactions, security and banking needs. Consumers and business owners alike appreciate the ability to accomplish more than one of their goals with a particular vendor, and these comprehensive systems are gaining popularity.
We’ve seen companies and products like Cyfe and Tableau (who had a massive IPO) create central business-intelligence platforms with APIs and integrations that continue to push the tech pace. Another example is Prime Trust, which offers one-stop shopping for business owners by providing financial services and infrastructure solutions, saving them time and creating a more convenient experience for customers, which is the ultimate goal. As the demand for diverse payment methods grows, these types of full-service banking and financial platforms will be necessary for even small businesses or storefronts. Customers want contactless credit options and the ability to pay with crypto currency or their phone. They also demand high security and instant, 24-hour access to funds. Having experts to guide your business through this ever-changing financial maze will be crucial moving forward.
Competition for new customers is always fierce, and adapting to the changing consumer market can be crucial for the success of any business. It is essential to know what your customers are demanding and where they are spending their dollars. To help your business make the right decisions for the year ahead and beyond, seize on these trends that are likely to influence business growth into the coming years.