The pandemic has significantly changed the world and its effects will last without any doubt. Businesses have had to adjust their survival trajectory due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Entrepreneurs have ventured into new trends with old ones tweaked as a way to adapt. While many are still optimistic about the near future, it is perhaps time to face the reality in terms of uncertainty.
It is the best time to adopt the latest technologies and learn how to prepare your business to tap into emerging trends. In this guide, we discuss how businesses will adjust and how society could be changed this year and beyond.
Here are 10 business trends which every organisation should be ready for.
Many businesses and employees had to adapt their activities to remote working due to the lockdown. It is a trend that has been gaining traction, albeit many late adopters were forced to jump ship earlier.
Most companies have reconsidered and others are still considering their business model now that the initial experiment has drawn some lessons.
As a result of employees working remotely, some businesses have seen productivity rise, while working from home has not been rosy for many. That is why businesses need to rethink their model if it is to work.
As a business owner or manager, you will be required to provide support for people working from home. Equip your remote employees with the right office equipment and support their mental wellbeing.
This will increase their work efficiency despite working remotely. Still thinking about the need for office buildings?
It is the best time to consider offering remote work options to compete for talent around the globe, if your type of business allows.
In 2021, automation will continue to be another central theme. By automating work, companies are able to focus on high value outcomes and focus more on increasing productivity.
With the help of artificial intelligence, the internet and robotics will be a key alternative solution for improving operational and manufacturing efficiency. Even highly trained white-collar workers such as lawyers or doctors will work with automated interfaces. The future is cool, right?
Financial markets are still anxious for companies seeking to increase their resources to either start a new venture or to grow amidst the crisis.
Therefore, crowdfunding, blockchain technology, grants, angel investors and other decentralised financing options have become alternatives for raising money for many entrepreneurs.
These alternative sources of capital play a pivotal role in keeping businesses solvent. Loans might not be an option for many business owners especially if they previously incurred significant financial loss.
This is a significant trend that will make it easier for companies to acquire capital rather than the usual conventional channels.
Rise in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Both AR and VR have grown significantly in the previous year and now are part of everyday life from business to entertainment.
This technology adoption was prompted by Covid-19 as businesses turned to the remote work model. Communication then automatically extended to VR and AR.
These immersive technologies are incredible sources of transformation across all sectors. The use of AR and VR is also quite prominent in the online gambling industry and the online experience will clearly be on another level in 2021.
By using AR and VR, we can bet that the online gaming trends will offer a more interactive experience for online players leading to more streamlining as developments continue.
AR and VR will become more accessible and integrated not only in casinos but in organizations across the spectrum.
Social Media Engagement
Brands have heavily relied on social media involvement with their consumers and future clients during the pandemic. Therefore, there is a likelihood of having less of a curated social media experience and more of personalised social media presence.
Additionally, businesses are likely to include micro-influencers and influencers who speak to their clients. Leading social media platforms have billions of users, making social media a growing target for marketers.
Therefore, there will be a significant growth in digital marketing spend in 2021.
Businesses continue to prioritise e-commerce as many people shift away from physical stores to digital shopping. Due to the pandemic, the closure of retail outlets saw consumers shift their spends to ecommerce platforms.
Despite the fact that long before the pandemic, eCommerce was steadily growing and has sped up roughly by five years, ecommerce is projected to grow further in 2021.
You ought to finetune your small business e-commerce presence in 2021 to prepare for this shift in consumer spending.
Ecommerce will further drive the need to upskill people and there will be a greater need for a more strategic approach to utilise the cloud ecosystem. So, go ahead and create a seamless e-commerce experience for your customers by making your site mobile-friendly and secure.
Alternative Payment Options
The dominance of alternative payment options is another trend that is likely to last into 2021 and beyond. No-touch payments such as contactless credit and debit cards and mobile payments have increased significantly by 69% since January.
Some 94% of retailers that have implemented contactless payments, expect the increase to continue over the next period of 18 months.
Going ahead therefore requires you to explore touchless payment options for your small business. This includes online payments with curbside pickup.
As economies and businesses increasingly become digital, the need for cognitive and robust cyber security solutions will be a huge trend in 2021.
With the speed of digital transformations in 2020, it clearly exposed how unprepared many organisations were to ensure secure working of their payments systems.
Companies should therefore focus on a hyper proactive, nimble approach to securing data, assets and proprietary information.
Businesses, therefore, need to secure and protect data just as they would with any other asset. While cloud solutions help us to access data from anywhere, businesses should be vigilant about implementing proper security to protect clients and business data.
Demand in Virtual Services
The pandemic has seen an increase in the demand for certain business types. Particularly those related to virtual health, fitness and technology.
They include food delivery, at home fitness, gaming, telemedicine and home improvement. If you are looking for ways to pivot, expand or start a new venture, consider joining these fields for more yields.
Business Model Innovation
As a business leader, you’ll constantly reflect on how to best operate your business and what you are offering your customers.
The businesses that react quickly to change are currently thriving. For example, restaurants that pivoted to allow takeout services, were more likely to survive.
It is important to note that the market is always shifting and 2021 should be your year to innovate your business model.
There have been dramatic restructuring shifts in the way the world collaborates, entertains, and more importantly, how it conducts business.
The transformation has been swift though brutal but the world is quickly adapting to the new normal. We hope our top picks for the biggest business trends in 2021 will help prepare your business for the future.