It may be hard to predict what will happen in business in 2020, but betting that technology will continue to advance and influence the marketplace seems like a sure thing.
Technological innovations may not be an area in which CEOs and business owners excel, but increasingly they need to stay aware of changes that will impact their companies in the year to come. Here are trends in technology to watch for:
1. Mobile experience and transactions
Consumers, both in the B2C and B2B realms, will be even more focused on the benefits of mobile technology in 2020 and beyond. It’s imperative that your business website be optimized for easy navigation and purchasing on mobile and hand-held devices. The same principle applies to the use of phones for in-store transactions, as well as facilitating simple, one-click checkouts through PayPal, Apple Pay, and other mobile solutions.
2. AI expansion
Leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI) for purposes of automation will also continue in the coming year. As Cox BLUE notes, the challenge for small businesses without a strong IT department is finding the right tools to “provide seamless integrations with existing software so that less tech-savvy companies can adopt automation” in areas like customer service, marketing, accounting, and data management. The good news is, AI apps are always evolving and making AI more accessible to smaller businesses seeking to compete with the “big guys.”
3. Social media marketing
Ongoing enhancements in platform technology will keep social media sites (Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) at the forefront of small business marketing. Businesses that make a priority of tapping into this vast market and building trust among followers will likely see their sales grow.
A continuing trend in social media marketing is reaching out to social media influencers, individuals and professionals with considerable followers on their sites “who can help bring your offerings to the attention of their many followers,” notes Business2Community. In 2020, “consider engaging a social media influencer [in your industry] to help with your marketing campaigns.”
4. Expanding 5G networks
The advent of 5G networks will further accelerate the speed with which consumers download and upload to the web. Introduced first in 2019, the use of 5G mobile data is predicted to explode in the coming year. As Forbes notes, greater speed and broader access means “companies must consider the business implications of having super-fast and stable internet access anywhere.”
5. Advances in voice search technology
As smart, voice-activated devices like Alexa become more prevalent in consumers’ daily lives, there’s more demand for businesses to have an active “voice presence” on their online platforms. This makes the search process for consumers much easier to integrate in their busy lives; for example: obtaining information on businesses and products while picking up the kids from school or taking the dog out for a walk.
Increasingly, consumers are opting to conduct searches via voice recognition technology, as opposed to sedentary searches in front of a laptop computer. It’s up to businesses to leverage this consumer preference to enable more effective product transactions.
6. Live chat and customer support
These days, many customers prefer real-time online support over time-consuming phone calls with customer support representatives. Live chat (also referred to as “chatbots”) makes it easier for customers to get answers to product inquiries, request and receive tech support when needed, and in general find a deeper engagement with companies they trust.
According to marketing expert Jeff Bullas, chatbots “can now recognize emotions and respond accordingly, keeping the level of engagement high.” Through AI and machine learning, chatbots “can understand the context in every conversation and provide meaningful and relevant answers” to customer questions. 2020 might be the year for your business to explore and adopt this ever-evolving technology.
Learn more about innovations in digital technology that can fuel growth for your business in 2020. Check out our free TAB BOSS Webinar, “25 Digital Must Haves to Drive Traffic, Sales and Leads.”