How Technology is Influencing Online Business
Written by Nishant Maliakel Oommen
Innovation drives the future, and technology is the main catalyst that fuels rapid evolution. High competition to capture profitable markets have pushed entrepreneurs to invest huge sums in developing technologies that baffle all alien life forms. Creative brains have given birth to complex bots and algorithms that interact itself, track, monitor, and analyse trillions of data, all with a persistent ambition to poke and probe the customer, “all to grab their attention”.
Every commercial institution across the world is on a race to equip and adapt with modern technologies that can influence people. Marketing is one in the strand which needs to be addressed. The complexity of analysing and understanding customers lead to the creation of new marketing tool where customers can gauge prices, compare features, customize, ask for a live demo, etc. Advanced robotics and machine learning algorithms evolved to form networks of the cognitive system that helps entrepreneurs to make informed decisions. Yes, we are looking towards a future that will be super ceded by radical breeds of AI enabled technology.
In this article, we will take a succinct overview of how few technologies will influence your online business. Let’s start small rather delve straight to complex technical jargons.
#1 Hyper personalized websites or eCommerce marketplaces
Fundamentally every business is the same regardless of whether it’s offline or online. The biggest change is noted when people start to leverage the unprecedented opportunity that technology accompanied. In a broader sense, new technological advancements started to manifest itself by simplifying people’s life. This main factor persuaded a bunch of tech savvy minions to migrate to comprehensive displays where they stayed for hours, exchanging information and interacting with other minions they find on the platform. Enlightened with the realisation of this incremental shift, where a high populous permeate from offline to online, it became an obligation for businesses to reflect their values in the online realm.
Seth Godin recited that, Don’t find customers for your products, instead find products for your customers. Great words. Over time, everyone’s taste and preferences changes and your customers are no exceptions. The best example is, consider that you’re a business that caters the needs of infants. Your business model started to proliferate and you started to notice a substantial turnover, all of a sudden, out of bloom you realized that you are not able to make repeated sales. The primary investigation revealed that all the sales were made for infants under one category “kids below 2 years old”. A design flaw on the website created the presumption among customers that the business only caters to one category “baby products – kids below 2 years old”. On the contrary, the child was growing and their needs must be met, forcing the parents to leave your business and look for another one that could cater a wider market.
In the above example, the business entity failed to reflect their business values in totality, limiting them to address only a small segment of the whole market. The best practice for the business would be to use technology to plot the customer needs and create an enticing eCommerce website that showcases their business as a whole. A hyper personalised website that sends a strong message, Hey we are a business specialised in delivering high quality service that caters the entire market, Our business to cater your child’s need from infancy till he grows to a charming toddler. Which beguiles the customer to believe, and drive higher customer satisfaction.
#2 IoT – Continuous coordination and collaboration
Internet of Things, a phrase that echoed in our ears for past couple of years, and still we are not acquainted with. IoT is a network of electronic peripherals that are interlinked to a common network, where they share data and collaborate, to gradually learn individual systems and progress along the experience curve to work as a single unit “a smart system”. The main purpose of IoT will be to present a digital economy that enables smart homes, smart offices, etc.
The importance of IoT in business can be highlighted with a simple example, Consider your online business/ eCommerce store is selling T-shirts. With IoT all devices in your office “Garage” will be able to stay connected and share data with each other with a concordant view to make smart decisions, thereby ensuring a seamless flow of operations. Here the system will work as a single unit, learning the operational flow from one department to another and will cognitively make prudent decisions in-case it finds any flaw in the seamless operation. If the AI recognises that the demand for a particular lenin has gone up, then the system coordinates with the concerned department and will discern the reason behind the increasing demand. Once the reason is analysed with data from the planning /forecasting department the AI will make informed decision to source an order or will notify the reason behind its action.
IoT also plays an important role to present a delightful customer experience. Let’s see how IoT will benefit you as a customer. Consider that one of your friends is having his birthday next week. You getting too indulged in the business forgot your mates birthday. How IoT will benefit you is, it will go through different profiles and connections you have and will intimate you about his birthday. The system will recognise it and will intimate you about your friends birthday and will ping you with suggestions, like what present you friend likes the most, or what he was searching two days back (a bit extreme when comes to privacy breach, Who knows the future), what he was presented last year, etc. Keeping you updated, and offering a plethora of opportunities to strengthen relationship. May be the insights you collect will help you to decide which colour he likes and can present him a T-shirt of the same.
#3 In app marketing the best way your lead gets incentivised
The great news is, In app marketing is an amazing way to keep continuous interaction with your customers. OHhh, forgot to mention the challenge. Stats published on BuildFire.com says that out of 100 apps downloaded 33.3% of them are only open once. Shocking information isn’t it. The main reason is that a majority of them (app’s) become obsolete before they hit the market, and the remaining failed to meet the customer expectation.
Most businesses use the strategy of incentivising in app traffic (usually done with virtual money). A hope to tickle with the curiosity, and expecting that the prospect at one point will convert into paying customers. Yes and No. No, because of your service, regardless of what is not adding value to the user. Then there is a high probability that the user may leave when the incentive gets over.
What when the answer is yes? As a user, he finds value in your business and continues with the service. In most cases, the user finds value with the continuous education and lead nurturing the organization rolls out. So, by the time the incentive gets over he is well aware why he should not send your app to the trash.
Release an app, build an enticing microsite, and drive traffic to the microsite. For eg: your website is selling high end mobile peripherals, in that case, use your app to drive targeted traffic to your micro website. You can always brainstorm and come up with some alluring marketing strategies, to attract interested people/ early adopters to stay tuned and be the first one to buy products on the release date. Frequently send reminders, offers, discounts etc through the app. Make sure the visitor will see value in your business model.
#4 Google semantics for prioritising information based on the context
Semantics have paved way for business intelligence systems, International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that by 2020 the amount of data produced from the point of sale system to sensors will reach 4.4 zettabytes. Which comprises a pile of structured and unstructured data. Data, when analysed, gives indepth knowledge about the relationship each data points have with one another, helping us glean compelling opportunities and obtain business benefits. The application of semantics and meta knowledge in the field of IoT has gained worldwide attention.
The future of business is driven by quality, and quality is comprised of deviants. So, how do we evaluate and quantify the reasonings behind an engagement? As a business how do we evaluate sentimental interactions with our business? How could an aircraft manufacturer like Boeing find the intangible reason behind a purchase? Beyond the huge markdown what motivated the airline to consider them over their rival Airbus. Both businesses provide state of the art cutting edge technologies.
With semantics, the entity will be able to deduce the complexity of analysing individual behaviour and will be able to find the reasoning behind a purchase. Semantics give meaning to the whole data available, scrapping intuitions, giving it a clarity, which helps to make precise informed decisions. The aircraft manufacturer can dig deep into data and analyse which variant of their aeroplanes are more preferred my businesses in that region. Why they preferred a 747 over a 737, Is the airline operating long haul services to busy destinations, Have they mentioned any information about their current load factor, How frequently customers mentioned their experience flying in a 747, How customers respond to the airline’s services, social mentions of the aircraft, etc.
What semantics does is, in its core, it will consider all these factors and will use the available bits of information to canvas clarity. With the internet revolution, even the manufacturer will be able to collect, analyse, and suggest the airline, why a 747 will be much better for their business than any other variants.
#5 Automation – To build strong relationship with prospects
With a rapidly evolving digital world, innovation is one strand that we cannot say no to. Why? COMPETITION, a simple but compelling word that exigence the importance of time, making time as one of the scarcest resource available to business. Even with the realisation that there are only 24 hours a day, every entrepreneur is searching for the extra 10 min, which they believe could make a dramatic influence. With technology and innovation, we come to fathom that we are not just a glob that revolves around a bright red hot ball, we are just one among the millions or billions. We are in a course, too busy running around to find the cosmic source which gives birth to the single celled alien that over time transformed into a fully grown sentient with feelings and emotions.
As time is the scarcest resource, we with our hocus pocus created the wonder “automation”. An effective strategy to stay tuned for day to day operations. Technology wants to reduce the distance between people, offering them common platforms where they can continuously interact and exchange information. But what if, you have customers who need your presence halfway across the globe. What in case you need to respond to time bound customer queries? To the least, How will you show your gratitude to a customer who signed up with you late night? The answer lies in this one sentence, Adapt technology and embrace automation. (Note: automation should not be at the cost of compromising your entities value in recognition to a general message. It needs to be a well addressed and a personalized note, reflecting your business values).
Automation needs to be streamlined to that of an efficient marketing machine. Social channels have become one peculiar stop among millennials. Stats published on BrandWatch.com says that there are 2.3 billion social media users, and 91% retail brand uses two or more social channels. This information itself pinpoint the importance why businesses need to stay connected, social media. Social media is an important channel for businesses to stay alive.
Technology has changed the way we administer business and wade through our professional life. Don’t take my word for granted. Look around you. You will be able to plot patterns reflecting a transformation, wondering the penetration of technology into our personal lives. Technology is forcing us to showcase an omnichannel presence, making it more mandatory for businesses to keep up with the radical trends and customer shift (channel hopping). Every business needs to incorporate a synergic approach to welcome technology that can productively reduce the distance between organizational values and customers. Once the values converge with the customer’s belief then a business can claim that technology has been used to deliver a purpose.
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