If 2017 didn’t bring enough change in the market place, 2018 is poised to push things along at a rapid pace. As usual, it’s a case of sink or swim – either know what your competitors are doing in places like China, or reap the consequences. So, on that gloomy note, let us begin counting down the big developments that are likely to shake up digital businesses in 2018.
5. Rise of the Influencers
Using influencers to promote your brand is nothing new. The Kardashians have made a killing out of promoting everything from holidays to beauty products, but this style of marketing is about to proliferate. All kinds of businesses are beginning to realize the benefit of not just finding a mega celebrity to promote their products, but finding someone who has a small niche following. Celebrities have been promoting products since advertising began, and using social media as a celebrity advocate was a no-brainer evolution. Now, however, it will be the local celebs that start getting sent more advertising revenue.
Why get Kim Kardashian to promote your beauty products if you can sell more by partnering with several niche makeup gurus?
4. Tailored Perks
We all know what it’s like to receive gift cards, or discounts, or loyalty programs from a business we buy from. But have you seen what it’s like to get a supermarket loyalty program that’s tailored specifically to your buying habits? How about deeply specialized offers, based on types of clothing that you tend to buy? Ideas like this, and special members-only content are ways in which many online businesses will be using people’s data to create a more personalized experience.
3. Subscription Mayhem
You’ve probably got a sense over the last few years of how many companies out there are trying to get a subscription model off the ground. People are more happy to pay for something if the fee is doled out over the space of a year. Services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are good examples of successful subscription models, but this trend is affecting many different sectors. SaaS businesses are moving heavily into subscription models to compliment their cloud-based products. You can expect price reductions on food if bought as part of a subscription in the future. The world could become a very different place if companies get creative in this area.
2. Customer is King
With all the customer data becoming available, and a more data-savvy workforce ready to exploit it, you can expect a greater shift towards customer-centric business models. It is competition that will drive this trend, as businesses compete to provide the best service. Being able to talk to a real person, or get a quick response from customer support is becoming more common place – and will be aided by the raise of AI and sophisticated bots. Really getting to know your customer will become mandatory in 2018.
1. Return to bricks and mortar
So many digital businesses have so deeply crushed their high-street counter parts that now they are seeing the benefits to having bricks and mortar locations themselves. Amazon has acquired Whole Foods – a bold and expensive move. And companies like Waterstones have fought back against Amazon, innovating by starting to manage individual bookshops like Mom n’ Pop stores, with wonderful results. All this proves there is still real value in being able to visit a physical location. Many high tech business are remolding these spaces, allowing for cashless payments and scanning of items for later home delivery. How tech will change the way our high streets work will become a lot more apparent this year.
So there’s our list. What do you think about our choices? If you think we missed anything major, throw it down in the comments!