The more things change, the more they stay the same. Now, even that is changing. Technology is transforming 21st-century business. The dramatic impact is not just affecting the process of business, but the priorities as well.
Those priorities are driven by customer expectations. And technology has had an even more dramatic affect on customer expectations. It has never been easier for consumers to compare more than just price. They have access to all kinds of information about products and services before they ever head for the retail outlet – if they ever head for a retail outlet.
They care more because they can learn more. The more they know, the more they can factor into a purchasing decision. Consumers are more concerned about things like:
- Ethically sourced materials and labor
- Environmental impact
- Total cost of ownership
- Service and support after the sale
But while these things now enter the purchasing conversation, they pale in comparison to the three newest and biggest priorities brought on by technological advancement.
You can’t just use password123 as a password anymore. That’s like having a chihuahua as a guard dog. While consumers are starting to get the message, businesses are lagging behind. It seems every day brings a new high-profile security breach that leaks user data all over the internet. Many of those breaches are caused by shoddy security models.
Security is not just about how you store files, but also how you transfer files from one place to another. Secure USB flash drives are one of the newer tools for getting the job done. These drives are encrypted, IP57 certified, bootable, FIPS 140-2 Level3 / CESG CPA / NLNCSA, and platform independent.
You can’t just continue handling customer data the same way as you did 50 years ago because you think it isn’t broken. It is broken. If security hasn’t risen to the top of your business’s priority list, your business is out of date. Use the latest tech to securely collect, store, and transfer sensitive data.
Technology has been dramatically shrinking while getting more powerful. The original iPhone had more computing power than the rocket that put the first humans on the moon. A computer that used to take up a whole building now fits in skinny jeans pockets with room for keys. That has a dramatic impact on business.
Consumers are more mobile than ever. They watch their favorite TV programs on the go, and may never see your well-crafted, budget-busting ad. There is a generation that has no idea what the Yellow Pages are. And when they have a question, they pick up the phone, but not to make a call. They find their answers on their search engine of choice.
You already know about search engine optimization (SEO). But if you are not up on local SEO, you are behind. Because it is almost certain that the shop across the street does know about it. You also have to think mobile-first when it comes to your web efforts. Google now penalizes sites that are not mobile responsive and highly performant. Today’s consumer is more mobile than ever before. Your business has to be as well.
The consumer is no longer a passive participant in the sales process. They are often more informed than the in-store staff. They are not as easily steered. They have questions you probably can’t answer. And they know exactly what they want.
They are used to going to Amazon and finding exactly what they want, and getting a variety of shipping options that best suit their needs. Apple empowers their retail customers to check themselves out without having to interact with a sales associate. They can pay for purchases from an app and just walk out the store with the product.
You can no longer get away with treating the empowered 21st-century customer like a docile 20th-century child. Banks have done a good job in making this transition by empowering their customers to do everything online that they once had to do in person, including depositing checks. Other industries have yet to figure this out.
Security, mobility, and customer empowerment are the new priorities of the 21st century, tech-forward business.