Let’s Take a Look at a Few 2021 Business Trends
With nearly everyone facing a recession in 2021, businesses are going to be looking to technology to keep their businesses afloat. The COVID-19 pandemic made businesses shift their priorities in 2020 and as the pandemic enters year two, these strategies will be equally important in 2021. Let’s take a look at three trends you will see businesses follow this year.
Supporting Remote Work
For years and years you would hear about businesses trying to support remote workers and pulling the plug after they deemed it a failed proposition. In 2020, you saw businesses acting out of necessity, demanding that workers (who would have loved to work from home previously) work remotely to be in compliance with state stay-at-home orders. Many businesses kept these policies intact, and now a large portion of the workforce continues to work remotely.
Since many studies reinforce the notion that remote workers are happier and often more productive than people that are required to go to a physical workplace, remote work may have finally lost the stigma it had for years. Obviously, businesses need to shift the way they think about their technology investments in order to make this work.
Many businesses have had to change course and have decided to forgo their planned technology investments and utilize computing resources delivered through public cloud platforms. This allows them to more easily control costs, but it does remove some of the control they have over their computing infrastructure. This is a deal they’ve had to make and a lot of businesses are finding that it works for them.
With a vaccine on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how business is conducted when it is completely safe to go back to the office. Regardless of what happens, it would be a safe bet that remote work will be more utilized after the pandemic than it was before.
Prioritizing Data Privacy
A major trend that has been growing over the past several years is that people are now conscious of how important it is to keep domain over their data. There are currently more data privacy bills up for vote in the U.S. now than any time in history. This is because people are starting to realize just how they are being taken advantage of by retailers and other organizations.
One element of doing business that isn’t often mentioned is the actual cost of data collection. Typically, these costs were low, but with data privacy becoming a major concern for consumers, these costs are quickly increasing. That’s not including the cost of compliance, which is always expensive.
The trend will be to actually collect less data. That seems strange since all you’ve heard about for years is how much data needs to be collected, but today people know the value of their data and don’t want to share as much of it. This means that the liability for companies expands greatly. In 2021, businesses will do more strategic assessments of what data they need to collect and what data they really don’t.
When you are forced by mandate to distance yourself from others, one of the best strategies is to shop online. Today you are seeing businesses that didn’t have an online presence starting to prioritize online commerce. Ecommerce will continue to expand in 2021. Here are some tips for businesses looking to expand their online presence:
- Feature-Rich Backend – Setting up eCommerce may not be the monumental task you’ve built it up to be, but it is involved. The first thing you need to ask yourself is “do I have the right tools to make this work?” Just like any other job, if you don’t have the tools you need, you will be trying to shove a square peg in a round hole. You will need a platform that allows you to get the data that will allow you to make fast and reliable decisions. A backend platform that provides analytics, conversion stats, revenue management, customer retention strategies and more will put you in a position to succeed.
- First Impressions Are Important – For companies with little to no online presence, one of the cardinal rules when moving your business online is to engage potential customers immediately. If your website looks dated, is clunky with broken links, and doesn’t provide the ease of use (for browsing, purchasing, and support) you are likely going to find eCommerce to be more of a headache than a benefit to your business.
- Mobile-Friendly Interface – A majority of the people that are going to be coming to, and interacting with, your website will be doing so from their smartphone. That’s just a fact. If your website and store doesn’t support mobile customers, your business will have a hard time finding its footing online.
- Build Up Your Social Presence – Obviously, once you commit to an ecommerce business, you need to create engagement. Nowhere is that easier than on social media. With social media platforms you can do about anything as far as getting people to take notice of your business and the more that you invest time and resources into social media engagement, the more noticeable your brand and your business will be.
Ultimately, if your business is just beginning to use the Internet to keep your business afloat, you will need to prioritize the strategies that have made so many businesses successful online.
Hopefully, 2021 will probably see some things return to normal. To get an assessment of your technology or to talk to one of our IT experts about how your organization uses technology, give us a call today at 616-394-4940.