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Executive Education

7 key business trends for 2020

Effective planning is the driving force behind sustainable success in business and accurate forecasting is a key component of any good plan. But it can be hard to map out a way forward in the face of rapid innovation and endless change. As the world enters a new decade, companies must ensure that they are taking into account the trends most likely to have a significant impact on their business in the future.

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Big Data is not a luxury

Analytics is no longer the exclusive domain of major tech companies but is now a vital tool in the operation of any company looking to survive in the coming decade. Creating a purposeful analytics strategy and selecting the right platforms will allow companies to produce insights rather than just amassing vast amounts of meaningless data.

The age of AI

Artificial intelligence has already revolutionized the way many major companies deal with data. As the volume of information required for meaningful analytics has increased, AI has provided the power required to sift through the noise.

However, the value of human insight shouldn’t be ignored. For the insights to be used properly, a company’s existing talent pool must be educated on how to use and understand findings produced by AIs.

The power of personalization

A 2018 Epsilon study revealed that 80% of customers were more likely to purchase if they felt their experience had been personalized. According to the study, automated reminders, purchase history based coupons and customized communications were all identified as features that improved the likelihood of purchase.

Basic personalization can be achieved through simple data management and paying attention to the steps in the customer journey. But, merging personalization strategies with analytics insights and AI tools can give companies a wealth of options, such as Chatbots, which promise to cut waiting times and improve customer service.

Green Tech will continue to grow 

As concern for the Earth grows, consumers are choosing to move away from companies that don’t show some level of commitment to social or environmental causes. To attract customers, and talent, more and more companies are making a serious commitment to green initiatives.

Going green can seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be. By adopting technology advances and streamlining processes, most companies can achieve a meaningful reduction in energy and resource use.

Alternative funding is creating new opportunities 

Investment is the force behind business and without capital, most major companies would never have gotten off the ground. With 80% of small business loans being rejected, it is unsurprising that only 31% of businesses that have existed for less than 10 years are approaching their banks as an initial source of funding.

As a result, platforms such as Clearbanc and Kabbage are providing performance-based loans to the kind of non-traditional companies most likely to be rejected by traditional lenders. Alternative funding isn’t just for new or small businesses, though. Companies looking to invest in innovation and diversify their offerings can also benefit from the wide range of sources available.

Monthly subscriptions are on the increase 

A more unexpected development of the 2010s has been the popularity of subscription services for consumer goods. According to Forbes, the subscription box industry has grown by 890% since 2014 and seems like it will continue to do so. While many subscription-only companies have emerged in recent years (Blue Apron, Hello Fresh), there have been some successful crossovers. Graze successfully launched a line of in-store products and lookfantastic.com have complimented their online retail store with a monthly beauty box offering.

Companies looking for a sales boost should seriously analyze their current offering to see if there are opportunities for subscription packages.

5G access and proliferation

The fifth generation of mobile wireless communication promises near instant download speeds and even more uses for already super powered smartphones. While the benefits for consumers are exciting, companies will also be able to seize new business opportunities.

Automation and AI integration will become easier but as consumers get used to slick, seamless loading, they will also expect more from the companies they interact with online. Having a robust and well-resourced digital strategy will be even more necessary than ever before.

Planning is key

While the future remains uncertain, it is already possible to see the impact of these trends across industries and their influence will likely grow in the New Year. The companies that come out on top in the 2020s will be the ones who took note of these trends early on and harnessed the innovations to their advantage.