2020 has seen every industry and business change in a variety of ways. These forces have caused a wide range of dynamic changes in the business world, accelerating change in ways that would have been unforeseen in 2019.
The key business trends of 2021 are largely technology-driven, but evolving consumer trends continue to play a large part in the strategies being adopted by big and small businesses alike. Navigating through the various demands of customers while making use of the right technology is vital. If you want to give your revenue a boost and wipe out your competition in 2021, here are the business trends that will matter.
1. Working from Home
If there’s one thing that 2020 taught the business world is that having employees working from home is more convenient and profitable than expected. Now, more employees than ever are avoiding the daily commute and getting to work in the comfort of their own homes. Companies and employees alike have realised the huge number of benefits that come with remote working, and 2021 looks set to be the year that more people prioritise a work from home job role. Businesses are saving money on office rental and the costs of having an in-house team, and employees are realising that collaboration is just as easy via technology as it is when your colleagues are sat at the next desk in the office. If your company is not utilising work from home teams then you could be spending money unnecessarily.
“Successfully working from home is a skill, just like programming, designing or writing. It takes time and commitment to develop that skill,” Alex Turnbull
2. The Domination of E-commerce
E-commerce is fast becoming the norm for all industries, and more consumers and businesses are browsing and buying online than ever before. The next few years are going to see e-commerce become fully established, which will change the real-world shopping experience in a variety of ways. All businesses should have e-commerce options for their customers, with even food outlets getting in on the act with branded products that are entirely unrelated to their main service. Brick-and-mortar stores still have a place, but they require time, investment, and research to make them a profitable option. Using social media and data management tools makes e-commerce selling and marketing much more streamlined and profitable, and that’s only good news for any business owner.
“E-commerce isn’t the cherry on the cake, it’s the new cake,” Jean-Paul Ago
3. Streamlining Processes Through Technology
Artificial intelligence and machine learning. automated apps and software: In today's tech-driven business landscape you either use the technologies that will help you stand out or you lose out to your competitors. Already, automation is changing the way that businesses function, and streamlining established processes so that teams spend less time on paperwork and laborious manual tasks and more time being proactive. There’s no end to the range of technologies and software available, and from HR to your sales department, you should be giving your teams the tools and resources that they need to be more profitable. Looking at options like outside sales software such as Spotio, which can improve productivity by 46% while cutting down on admin tasks, will highlight your most valuable sales leads, and improve team collaboration across the company. Don’t underestimate or ignore how technology is changing the business world.
“The biggest part of our digital transformation is changing the way we think,” Simeon Preston
4. The Gig Economy
Freelancers are nothing new for many industries, but as the number of people remote working rises, so too does the demand for a more flexible working routine. The gig economy allows employees to pick and choose the tasks that they tackle, and means that they can opt to work for companies based on their preferences. The 9-5, full-time, in-house job may be becoming a thing of the past. This is good news for business owners, who will be able to cut their wage costs and only pay workers for specific tasks. It also means that they don’t have to pay high wages for a specific skill set that is only needed on occasion. Of course, by utilising freelance workers, business owners can also avoid paying for compensation packages and employee benefits. For both workers and bosses alike, the gig economy is going to gamify employment and force sweeping changes across most industries.
“Now we have a gig economy where many people are holding down several jobs at once. The whole concept of a 40-hour week makes people under 30 laugh,” Katrina Onstad
5. The Changing Face of Social Media
It’s become standard knowledge that all businesses need to have a social media presence, but those platforms continue to evolve. The social media strategy that you used in 2019 may be very out of date by the time 2021 lands, which means that your company needs to pivot. For marketing and brand engagement, social media is still very hard to beat, but you need to be in the right place. Facebook is no longer the be-all and end-all of social platforms, with younger demographics avoiding it and preferring to spend their time on alternative platforms. Business owners need to know who their audiences are and where they are spending their time online. There’s little value in designing an incredible Twitter marketing strategy if all of your customers are on TikTok. Social commerce is becoming the next big shift in social media, and brands of every size should be ready to make that adjustment.
“The first rule of social media is that everything changes all the time. What won’t change is the community’s desire to network,” Kami Huyse
From the growing use of technology to knowing more about your audiences, businesses have a lot of work to do to remain ahead of the biggest trends of 2021. By doing the right research and making use of the tools and resources that would have been impossible to imagine even a decade ago, businesses will be far more likely to grow. Fail to pay attention to the big business trends of 2021 and you’ll soon be falling behind and losing sales.