It was not long ago that the internet didn’t even exist. Google is barely twenty years old and most people over forty will easily remember a time when mobile phones did not exist. In a very short space of time, there has been a lot of development and change and, it probably goes without saying, that it is continuing rapidly. All this technological change has had a big impact on the way that business is conducted. Quite simply, it is unrecognizable from how it was twenty or thirty years ago. And if you find that hard to believe then here are a few ways in which things have changed.
Lots of risks
While the internet has opened up new markets and frontiers, it has also meant that businesses are susceptible to online attack and fraud. The number of attempted fraudulent transactions online is significantly higher than it is in conventional retail. There are also issues like cloning of sites and database and website hijacks. This has all meant that lots of business owners now find themselves contracting with cyber insurance companies to ensure that if things do take a turn for the worst that they are covered financially. Ten years ago, only the very elite or security conscious were insuring themselves against hacks and fraud, now it is everywhere, and you would be foolish not to have a policy if you are transacting online or building a digital presence.
The rise of Social Media has been huge, and it as completely changed the way that brands interact with their users. Now brand managers talk about concepts like engagement, and they spend fortunes on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The amazing thing about digital is that it is extremely measurable, which means that every action can be tracked and a return on investment calculated. As a result, the biggest economies in the world are now spending more money on digital marketing than they are on traditional platforms like radio, print, and television.
Size of your market
The rise of the internet has seen the size of available markets grow exponentially. Instead of running a small mom and pop store in a local suburb, by entering the online realm the same store is now able to sell globally and reach a significantly larger client base. This has led to the rise of mega-multinational retailers like Alibaba, Shopify, and others, being able to sell at huge volumes and ship to anywhere in the world.
A generation ago successful business was about building relationships with customers. Now, many businesses never see or meet their customers at all. Think of relationships like bank managers… most people don’t even go into banks anymore, doing all their transactions online or at an automatic teller machine. But these types of virtual relationships are in so many spheres. Travel agents? When last did you use one of those? Estate agents? There are so many industries that have become online only that, in many ways, it is hard to even remember what it was like to have those personal relationships.