Ok, 2020 is here. What can we expect out of this brand new decade? Are we gonna have flying cars any time soon or we are going back to basics? Well, let’s see…
We listed a few trends that tend to have the most powerful impact on the business world. With great pleasure, we are listing a social initiative as a first trend:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…
However, we are really living in times when business have never been more in tune with its responsibility to protect the environment, by ensuring equality and advocating for social issues. Just like many start-ups and social enterprises, more and more traditional businesses are seeking out their purpose beyond just making a profit.
Let’s not get too enthusiastic, after all, this change came from customers. As Gallup reported earlier this year, younger customers of the millennial and Gen Z generations are especially concerned about sustainable, green and socially responsible business practices, and looking to patronize only those organizations and companies that follow this green and social philosophy. 75% of Millennials consider it fairly or very important that brands give back to society instead of just making a profit, and more importantly, their concerns lead to changes in their spending.
This change is a consequence of the fact that more and more people are adopting a green lifestyle. This trending eco-conscious lifestyle isn’t characterized jest by vegetarian diets and organic products. No. They all want more. They want big companies to be responsible too, in order for them to fulfill their own goals. For example, when using natural materials, it lowers the carbon footprint of the business, just as well as that of the individual consumer.
Apart from that, now it’s not enough just to be green; you actually have to help the customer understand what making eco-friendly choices means for you and them. The answer lies in providing the clients with details (truth) and authenticity.
This trend will impact the business world in terms of:
- The use of the local products and produce will rise.
- The packaging will be minimize and will be based mostly on recyclable materials.
- Eco-friendly cleaning product use will rise.
- Green vendors and services will get patronized more than ever.
The artificial intelligence industry is growing strong and fast. No doubt it will have a huge impact on the economy in the year before us. Having in mind that even minimal use of its algorithms can improve user experience in almost every industry there is, the possibility of transforming customer experience is nothing but vast. For example, Spotify uses artificial intelligence to make the listening experience more personal by creating customized sessions for every user.
AI is also transforming customer service. These days, Chat-bots and virtual assistants can handle more customer service tasks than ever before. Machine learning provides much better responses to customer requests, as interactions are more efficient. These “virtual helpers” can be reached at any time of day, whether it’s a national holiday or regular work hours. And as customer expectations grow, this is where many companies are investing their time and money.
In the future, we will be witness to AI becoming an essential part of human everyday life. By creating new value, AI can empower people to navigate the increasing complexity of the workplace and strengthen human experience.
So, in order to succeed, business leaders will have to commit to designing for human intelligence and optimize the relationship between people and machines.
CUSTOMER REVIEWS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
Everything can always be downsized to human beings and their experiences. That is why this year customer reviews will trend more than ever, as they are becoming more crucial all the time. This is happening for one simple reason. People tend to trust other people, rather than organizations. In other words, customers trust reviews over ads or any other content businesses create themselves.
What is notable is that the number of reviews grew by 35% in 2019 compared to 2018. This highlights the importance of professional and consumer opinions during the consumer journey.
It’s essential for a business to be listed on sites like Google My Business, Yelp and others that are relevant to a specific industry. Of course, don’t forget that the most effective way to get a good review is to have great products and customer service.
Technology is making massive leaps forward and, as a consequence, money is morphing. The shape of money as we know it is rapidly evolving, together with our perceptions of it. It is getting faster and more efficient. The result is that the world is slowly, but steady becoming cashless. We can now pay by using our fingerprints or via facial and retinal recognition. It is just a matter of time when our personal data will become embedded in money, enabling seamless payment experiences.
Did you know that as few as 13% of Swedish people recall using cash for a recent purchase, while in the U.S., 30% no longer use cash in a standard week?
Changes like this will empower us to do more than simply buy things, it will create a whole new range of products and services.
At some point, invisible payment systems will emerge, making our connections to and feelings about money more ambiguous.
So, what does this mean for businesses?
Every organization should elevate their payment experience and use it as a point of differentiation. On top of that, it is absolutely crucial to create and offer products and services that address concerns about privacy, transparency, and integrity while exceeding customer expectations.
DESIGN IS GETTING MORE LIFE-CENTERED
People’s needs are in a constant state of change. At this moment, we are all shifting from a “me” to a “we” culture and we all try to reflect the social, environmental and political causes we care about – through our purchases more than anything else.
So, what should a business do?
They should radically redesign their business models, adapting to life-centered design. This philosophy is inspired by a writer, John Thackara, and his theory of designing not just for human life, but for all life (i.e. the entire planet).
Designers have a task to fill in the gap created by a design that has often separated people from ecosystems. Every design today should address people as a part of a greater ecosystem. This might sound harsh, but hey, people, we are not at the center of everything! Not anymore, that is for sure.
In order to succeed in this new direction, organizations must embrace a broader, more holistic systems mindset.