7 Trends That Will Transform Online Business In The Future
With the unleashing of emerging cutting-edge technologies, almost every aspect of our society will see a transformation. New technologies will have a huge impact on the way online business will be carried out in 2018 and beyond.
Modern technological systems such as ERP and CRM are highly capable of boosting productivity and reducing costs by automating functions. Similarly, the current investments and research in quantum computing (QC) have a profound potential for disruptive impact in the world of business.
IBM’s scientists have predicted that in five years, QC will be mainstream as it will be used extensively by new categories of professionals. QC will have a wide range of business applications such as:
- The Automotive industry
Cybersecurity will also be a focal point since companies need to beef up their efforts to secure investments in software and other appliances. Businesses, therefore, will start investing less in endpoint solutions and more on managed services to safeguard their existing infrastructure.
The current model of online business is not completely free from friction and hassles. And it often creates inconvenience for customers. Suffice to say, in the future, an individual’s digital fingerprint will help businesses know who they are and what their needs (and likes or dislikes) are. It will surely result in an improved shopping experience and more transparency. This is just one example that reflects the immense potential of technology for e-tailers.
Let’s take a look at some of the most powerful technology trends that can transform online business:
1. Artificial Intelligence
Companies that have been quick to implement AI in various processes are improving operational efficiency, making informed decisions, and innovating new products or services.
According to a survey conducted by EY and published in MIT Technology Review Insights, there are some interesting takeaways for businesses to incorporate AI into their strategies. More and more online businesses will use AI to customize their user experiences by analyzing data, buying trends and browsing history.
In the social media domain, AI will help with real-time personalized content targeting with the aim of increasing sales. With the help of AI-powered tools, an effective distribution of content will take place. This will target the right audiences at the right time. In other words, AI-enabled marketing can make use of effective behavioral targeting methodologies. Using predictive intelligence, AI can detect if a customer is willing to purchase a product or be more likely to buy from another provider.
2. Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) leverages network connections to facilitate communication between devices and systems. It basically involves adding “smart” sensors to connected devices and creating an efficient and productive atmosphere for users.
IoT promises endless possibilities for consumers as well as enterprises. It is expected that the number of IoT-connected devices will grow to 23.1 billion by the end of 2018. This compares to only 15.4 billion in 2015! So how will IoT help online business?
When equipment and devices are integrated into the same network, it will be easier for businesses to track orders and products. Inventory management will go through enormous leaps beyond current Point of Sale (PoS) systems. Furthermore, as IoT becomes commonplace, all devices will be manageable on one network. It will become much easier to manage everything remotely. The massive amounts of data that IoT devices generate will require more sophisticated analytics tools in order to process the data.
With the help of IoT, organizations can more easily locate issues in the assets (equipment, machinery, tools, logistics, etc.) and run preventive maintenance to improve asset utilization. Being connected to the maximum number of smart devices on the network, businesses can incorporate predictive analytics and real-time diagnostics to drive down the maintenance costs.
Using IoT, companies can leverage a key tool called Digital Twin to improve operations with digital data. A Digital Twin is a virtual twin of the real-world thing that helps organizations bridge the divide between the physical and digital. It serves as a looking glass into physical assets and provides insights into changes required for the future.
2.1 IoT and Blockchain
Another important technological trend on the way is the blending of blockchain with IoT. As IoT will advance, there will be more security threats, rendering the whole system vulnerable. This is where blockchain will make use of advanced cryptographic processes to develop security procedures for the devices involved in the data exchange.
Blockchain is being touted as one of the most disruptive technologies today. It has been the enabler of the establishment of bitcoins and other Cryptocurrencies. Blockchain technology has virtually endless applications in various businesses. It decentralizes the way data is stored and maintained.
In simple terms, blockchain is distributed secured storage spread across a network. The main advantage provided by blockchain is that it is not controlled by any central authority. Rather, it is transparent to people. There is zero possibility of data being tampered – that is, it is almost immutable.
It is a ledger of records arranged in batches known as blocks. These make use of cryptographic links to validate one another.
An important application of blockchain is “Smart Contracts”, which is used by businesses as a financial form of security, meaning online businesses will make more secure and bigger financial transactions. Thus, companies can create better business relations, streamline legal procedures via smart contracts and conduct cryptocurrency transactions in a safe and easy manner. Even complicated transactions that need human intervention can be simplified by the use of blockchain.
4. Augmented Reality
The recent progress and innovations in augmented reality have opened whole new avenues for businesses to thrive. A powerful feature of augmented reality called Heads Up Display (HUD) will completely transform how we work, shop and play.
For example, using HUD on eyeglasses, a person can walk around unknown locations or foreign countries by having all the store signs instantly translated into his/her native language.
For online businesses, AR will be extremely helpful. It will customize in-store experiences with mannequins by matching body type and displaying enough virtual inventories. Businesses will create AR experiences with their packaging so that demo videos can appear on them. Not only this, virtual pop-up stores can be built to appear anywhere that crowds are gathered.
5. User Experience
Greater online connectivity combined with more sophisticated smartphones has brought revolutionary changes in people’s lives. From communication to online shopping to even becoming part of a larger sharing economy, technology is playing a critical part in our society.
When it comes to online business, there will be a palpable increase of necessity for incorporating better user experience (UX). A more effective and engaging UX is crucial to making the shift to digital services.
When it comes to online business, the maximum UX is characterized by a user-friendly website that combines seamless navigation, a clean-cut purchasing journey, dynamic and digestible content top-notch customer support, and mobile device compatibility. Thus, a better UX is the key to determining how brands will speak to their customers and deliver their message effectively.
User interface and user experience are going to be crucial factors for the adoption and utilization of online business and enterprise applications.
The use of drones is going to be increased even further in the come years.
Amazon, for example, started public testing of drones with Amazon Air.
Overall, from delivering pizza to aiding search and rescue missions, drones have huge potential.
Microsoft announced at its annual Build developer conference that it was teaming up with DJI, a Chinese drone manufacturer, to create drones for the enterprise. New regulations streamline the process to legally operate a drone for commercial purposes.
Drones or UAVs (Unmanned Airborne Vehicles) will be used by businesses in video and photography, especially for marketing purposes. The promise of goods delivered directly to a customer’s door by drone will only become more real as the technology continues to evolve and its capabilities expand.
7. Voice Search
So far, SEO has been widely used to enhance visibility and ranking of a business website because users have been typing keywords. However, the emerging trend of voice searches is going to pose a challenge to SEO.
In the coming years, more people will be speaking to their devices in order to search for products or services. This will bring a significant change in customers’ preferences, That, in turn, will create a massive shift in the way online businesses interact and communicate. Google’s “Siri” and Amazon’s “Alexa” are just the beginning of this trend.
The growing innovations in the technological landscape provide a huge potential for companies to overhaul their business strategies for better. From artificial intelligence to augmented reality to personalization of customer experience, these disruptive technologies can completely transform the way businesses will be conducted.
The key takeaways of next-gen tech trends are:
- AI-based machine learning such as face recognition and emotions simulation will be widely used in industries like robotics.
- IoT will give new dimensions of connectivity and intelligence to physical infrastructure.
- Augmented reality will be a boon for the gaming industry and online shopping by providing real-life simulations.
- Blockchain will give companies a secure, decentralized, and transparent system for business transactions (like smart contracts).
- High-impact user experience will be delivered rapidly and effectively.
- Drones will eliminate time and the need for logistics infrastructure to deliver things.
- Most companies will implement visual and voice product search to their platforms.
Over To You
Are there any other trends that you feel will transform online business in the future? If so, or if you’d like to add anything to the above points, please share your thoughts, below.
You may also want to read: How Small Businesses Can Make the Most of Online Marketing
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