BUSINESS TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2015
In this article, we take a look at several of the trends that businesses should expect to keep pace with in the new year. It is no surprise to see that efficiency and mobility are at the forefront. Whether it is starting a business, marketing an existing business, or trying to attract new employees, it is important for business owners to remember that accessibility is the new normal. There is also a noticeable shift towards businesses becoming more transparent, focusing on customer experience, and practicing social consciousness. Below are some of the new and continuing trends we anticipate for 2015.
1. Sharing Economy. Companies like Uber, Lyft, AirBnB and TaskRabbit are a few of the collaborative consumption businesses that have gained momentum in the past year. These businesses essentially remove the middle man, while promoting sharing, efficiency, and mobility. Consumers can now procure services by clicking on their phones, while avoiding the traditional costs associated with similarly situated services. Sharing-economy companies have proven to be a good opportunity for entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business without the commitment of a large investment.
2. Mobile-friendly websites. Large corporations and small businesses are now, more than ever, focusing on mobile sites, as consumers are increasingly relying on their smartphones for information and processing transactions. According to Forbes, “87% of connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones.” It is necessary for business owners to either utilize responsive web design or create an alternate mobile version of their website to provide a positive and easy experience for users.
3. Mobile payments. With ApplePay’s release in October 2014, businesses can expect to see the popularization of near-field communication (NFC) payment systems. NFC payment systems allow customers to pay at a cash register using their mobile phones. Payment systems like Google Wallet have been around for a few years but the increased attention surrounding ApplePay will bring mobile payments into the mainstream. While it will not be replacing wallets anytime soon, businesses with NFC payment systems can provide customers peace of mind as the programs are heavily encrypted and protect against identify theft.
4. Content marketing. A hot topic in 2014, more businesses will be turning to content marketing where the focus shifts from the product to the consumer. Content marketing is about providing valuable information to customers for the purpose of building trust, branding, awareness, and an overall positive sentiment. One of the most successful and cost-effective methods of content marketing has been blogging. Companies are using bloggers to advertise their products and services, providing consumers a more relatable experience.
5. Virtual assistant services. Even with employment on the rise, many companies have cut back on their administrative staff. Anyone who has secretarial, human resources, or marketing capabilities can deliver their services to struggling businesses. It is mutually beneficial as businesses can cut overhead costs of hiring full-time employees while employees can work from the comfort of their own home.
6. Targeting niche audiences. More than ever, companies are using tools like Facebook and Google Analytics to provide insight into customer demographics. Companies will need to examine data collected over the past couple of years to evaluate their target audiences and find ways to speak to their consumers in a more meaningful way. This trend continues to create opportunities for companies that analyze Big Data.
7. Subscription services. In a realm that was once occupied solely by magazines and movies, subscription services such as BlueApron, Dollar Shave Club, and BirchBox allow customers to sign up, pay a monthly fee, and have a variety of goods delivered straight to their door. Subscription services alleviate the task of running errands by allowing customers to simply set up preferences online and wait for a package each month. Though there are numerous services currently in place, a creative entrepreneur may find a unique space in this area of business.
It is critical for businesses to facilitate customer experience as we enter 2015. With so many emerging business ideas, it is imperative for the consumer to find something that is easily accessible and efficient. Companies that embrace mobile innovation and take an interest in what their consumers want will create a business with lasting power.
[Business Insights is hosted by the Law Firm of Kumar, Prabhu, Patel & Banerjee, LLC (KPPB). Bidisha Idnani is of counsel at KPPB, and provides litigation and corporate support.
Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice.]
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