Nothing stands still in business as consumer attitudes change and technologies develop. Economic circumstances in Ireland generally, and this region in particular, are also important. So, what should you look out for in 2017? Here are some trends that will continue to grow in importance over the coming 12 months.
Businesses should never stop listening or trying to understand customers, even if you have been involved in your industry for many years. This is because consumer attitudes, behaviours, and expectations change. Here is what you should expect in 2017:
- Growth of eCommerce – the number of transactions taking place online is likely to grow, particularly in regard to transactions on mobile devices. Even if you don’t sell products online you will still probably see an increase in the number of customers in your industry conducting research online, making enquiries to potential suppliers, and more.
- Customer Connections – in 2017 there will be an increasing trend towards connecting with customers rather than selling to them. This applies in all businesses, including those that do not operate a face-to-face or personal relationship building sales model.
- Millennials and Generation Z – millennials (the generation of people who are currently aged somewhere between 25 and 35, i.e. they were born in the 1980s or early 1990s) are already an important market for many businesses. Understanding this demographic and targeting messages, products, and services directly at them will continue to be important. Another generation is coming too, however, and they are not the same as millennials. Generation Z are people born in the mid-to-late 1990s and early-2000s.
- Data – you probably have more data now about your customers than ever before. That said, you might still only be scratching the surface of the amount of data you could have. So, the trend for collecting consumer data will continue in 2017 but that is not all – you will also see further strides toward making that data usable, i.e. quick to read, digest, and understand.
- Millennials and Generation Z – the generations known as millennials and Generation Z have already been mentioned above as consumers but they are workers too. Those from Generation Z are starting to enter the workforce, while millennials are moving into more senior management positions.
- Independent Workers – a number of factors have led to the increase in the numbers of independent workers. This includes the financial crises of 2008/9, increased connectivity because of the internet, and the desire of individuals to have more control over their work/life balance. This trend is set to continue in 2017.
- More Tasks Completed Remotely – increasing numbers of tasks that were typically completed in person are increasingly being completed remotely. One example is training. It is no longer necessary to bring staff to a central location to conduct training in all situations as other options are available. This includes video conference calls, e-learning solutions on computers, and micro learning solutions on mobile devices.
- Security – security was a major consideration for businesses in previous years and that trend is set to continue in 2017.
- The Cloud – many businesses have already move some aspects of their operations to the cloud. This is set to continue over the coming 12 months.
Understanding each of these trends will ensure your business is in the best possible position to achieve success in the coming years.
For more help and advice in your business please contact a member of the Gilroy Gannon team today.