From advanced AI tools like ROSS to smart office equipment, technology has allowed us to make the most of our workspaces. In a similar manner, the internet, too, is disrupting the way we go about our business, whether that’s in the way we operate, the strategies we adopt to accommodate today’s ever-changing market, or, as a customer, the means we use to determine the best products. Today, we’ll be discussing the major changes the internet has caused and the things businesses can do to take advantage of the opportunities presented.
Digital marketing at the forefront
The internet has provided a platform all potential customers have access to. According to Statista’s latest estimates, the global digital population is now at 4.48 billion. That’s more than half of our total population. If businesses are looking to reach their customers, then there’s a huge opportunity online. For example, Scott Keever, the CEO of digital marketing agency Scott Keever SEO, emphasizes that most people begin their online experience through a search engine. Therefore, businesses can leverage search engine optimization or marketing to ensure they appear in the first pages of search results.
Similarly, they can pay social platforms like Facebook and YouTube to display their ads. These platforms utilize personalized algorithms to determine what their users’ preferences are, so businesses are always sure that their ads are displaying to the ideal accounts.
Online shopping is on the rise
Even before these troubling months, e-commerce was a very robust market. For example, Business Insider outlines that online sales made up 11% of last year’s total sales in retail, which was at $6 billion. This is a huge jump from 2018’s 9.9%. When people buy items for special events like birthdays and holidays, they tend to browse online as well. Shoppers spent an average of $361 during Thanksgiving last year. Customers prefer it not only because of its convenience, but because they get access to a wider variety of items. If businesses want to succeed in today’s market, they have to move their shops online.
The customer-first mindset
Shopping isn’t the only way that customers connect with your brand digitally. Since competition is fierce, customers need a way to determine which brands are better than the rest; and the internet has provided them with plenty of information in the form of reviews. Ryan Shelley, the founder of marketing firm Shelley Media Arts, states that at least 82% of users online read reviews before buying an item or when comparing it to its competitors. He even found that they read at least ten of them before making a decision. This means that businesses have to make the customer experience as pleasant as possible, from the quality of their products to service, less they risk ruining their reputation forever.
Remote work is here to stay
This year may have hastened its adoption, but much like online shopping, remote work has been integrating itself into the workforce for a while. In fact, Upwork’s 2019 remote work report highlighted that 73% of all teams would have remote workers by 2028. After all, this type of setup is beneficial for both the employer and employee; the former will shoulder fewer overhead costs, while the latter saves on commute resources. Plus, remote workers have the advantage of a flexible schedule, so they can work during their most productive hours. It’s such a desired benefit that Owl Labs highlights that a number of office employees are willing to take pay cuts to work remotely.
Staying on top of paperwork
Whether you’re filing taxes or submitting documents to start up a new business, the internet has made it easier to send, receive, and get them approved. For example, The Balance claims that sole proprietors can easily complete a business tax calculation form online to figure out how much tax they need to be adding to their personal income tax return. Similarly, ZenBusiness states that anyone wanting to form an LLC can easily check their state’s online databases to see if the name they’ve chosen for their company has already been taken. In fact, most states now accept forms online, and with minimal filing fees, too, making it much more convenient for business owners.
One of the biggest contributions of the internet is the existence of cloud technology; a third-party service provider gives you access to their technology for a price. Most offer them in subscriptions, but some accept one-time payment. Information Age notes that the cloud’s main advantage is that anyone who has access to the system can add, edit, and remove files. Online storage facilities like Google Drive and Dropbox are all consequences of cloud technology. Depending on the department, there are a lot of collaborative cloud tools that teams can use, like customer relationship management software for marketers and talent acquisition platforms for recruiters.
The future of internet and business
The internet has opened up several avenues for both businesses and customers to explore, changing the way they interact and move towards their goals. This year, several network companies are even setting up the next generation of network standards, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G, that will improve our experience with the technology. As a result, more people are going to get access and existing users are going to get a faster internet experience, opening up new opportunities for everyone.
As long as technology continues to advance, so will the industries that are reliant on its services.