It has been said that the sun never shines on anything new. In one sense, this is true in the business world. Businesses have always competed for customers, struggled with managing employees, and marketed their products as superior to the competition. However, when it comes to technology, this statement is blatantly false. Technology is advancing at such a fast pace that it sometimes seems that a new device or software is announced daily.
Businesses are eager to embrace new technology to help them do the "same old things" better and faster at a reduced cost. For many smaller businesses, however, the move to digital can be unnerving. Phrases such as "search engine optimization" or "e-retailer" are often disquieting unless they have a technology expert coaching them. The principals may be great inventors, outstanding craftspeople, or natural-born salespeople, who have an innovative product or service to sell, but lack the guidance they need to help reach potential buyers.
Without the proper guidance, some business owners find themselves intimidated or immobilized by all of the new technology. They may fail to take advantage of all that the digital world can do for their business. The global population, you see, is going digital in droves. The following statistics may help you understand why the move is on to "go digital" in 2015.
- In 2013, there were 1.4 billion smartphones in use.
- On average, Americans spend nearly two hours each day using a mobile device.
- One survey found that 57 percent of the respondents stated they will not recommend a company that has a mobile site that is of poor quality.
- Approximately 25 percent of all online searches are performed on a mobile device.
- Mobile marketing is expected to generate $400 billion in 2015 in the U.S. alone, increasing from $139 billion in 2012.
- The U.S. has 224 million mobile app users who are interact with the app at least once per month.
- Almost 67 percent of all tablet and smartphone users employ these devices to access social networks.
- Twitter expects to receive in excess of 60 percent of its advertising revenue from mobile advertising in 2015.
- By 2016, mobile ad revenue is expect to reach $24.5 billion, more than double what it was in 2012.
- Over half (57 percent) of the population of the U.S. owns at least one smartphone.
Simply put, businesses cannot afford to ignore the digital world if they are to expand, be profitable, or maintain their share of the market. The people of the world (and their devices) are connected in ways that were almost unimaginable a few years ago.
- The Internet of Things has arrived, with everything from refrigerators to cars that can connect to the Internet.
- Wearable technology, once the domain of science-fiction, is here, and new wearable devices are continuing to be introduced.
- In-store kiosks are allowing customers to "help themselves" to gift registries, discount coupons, product information, inventory levels and much more.
- Cloud computing reduces the upfront costs of having the latest software while offering employees and customers access from any location.
- Responsive web design has allowed developers to create sites that display correctly and integrate seamlessly, whether the device is a smartphone, a laptop or a tablet.
The move to digital has been driven by demands from customers, vendors, and employees. People like having the ability to check on an order status, collaborate with their colleagues, or review a payment history from any location and at any time. Businesses that choose to ignore the digital revolution are not empowering their employees and customers to leverage technology in the manner they are increasingly demanding. Such enterprises risk being left behind by the competition.