We’ll see a dramatic shift of expertise toward the wisdom of the crowd.
We’ll trust diverse opinions over the individual expert. We see this already with easy access to synthesized knowledge. CrowdMed, Wonder, Kaggle, InnoCentive, Pass The Idea, and countless other digital-age crowdsourcing platforms democratize expertise in even the most sophisticated topic areas.
Artificial intelligence will help us make smart decisions.
Robots and intelligent devices will instantly interpret diverse information sources. A deep learning robot will be able to make all sorts of decisions:
- Find patterns in medical data to help doctors make smart diagnoses
- Pinpoint fashion trends by scanning what people are wearing at music festivals
- Recommend city traffic patterns based on air quality and congestion
- Help teachers customize instruction based on individual students’ learning paces
- Learn what viewers don’t like about a TV ad that causes them to change the channel
Additionally, connected devices mean that AI can equip us with real-time recommendations incorporating remarkably personal measures and drawing on traditionally human variables (like emotion and desire). For example, AI will be able to intervene before we get a craving for unhealthy food or could help us craft a more persuasive sales pitch. AI is already mimicking us, as evident in Facebook’s AI chatbots, and beating us, as evident in Google’s Go champion. Its expansion will have profound consequences on our personal lives and business growth.Related reading
Traditional education will get more accessible through democratized platforms and more open expertise.
Udemy, Coursera and other massive online learning platforms expand knowledge’s reach. Open educational resources diminish the demand for costly textbooks and further democratize access. Dynamic learning modules adjust based on a student’s expanding skills, giving many the personal attention required to progress. The future will be created by many who are just now getting access to education.
Want to build a perfect landing page for your next campaign? Follow the ultimate landing page building guide mentioned below. This guide comes in the form of an infographic and covers essential landing page factors that wíll help you build a visually pleasing landing page which is optimised for conversions. The landing page tips mentioned here are tried and tested methods. As such, go ahead and check them out and for future reference, download the infographic (for free) and keep it handy!
The Anatomy Of A (Perfect) Landing Page [Infographic] by the team at LeadForest
Kristel is a Digital & Social enthusiast. She loves to write about latest trends in Social Media, SEO & Everything Digital.
You may my email firstname.lastname@example.org to fetch the gravatar for the post.
PWAs offer more than an improved user experience. The inherent properties of the web platform means they can also help businesses solve real problems from reach to maintenance.
Easy distribution and discovery
Consider the friction of distributing a native app: it must pass tricky approval rules, submit to mandated revenue sharing, and gain attention in a crowded app stores. And it could all be for nothing: the average number of apps installed per month is 0 (comScore, 2017). For many businesses, it’s a risky path to take
Contrast that with PWA. Being a website, they’re already available and swiftly updated. Users can discover them naturally through organic and paid search, or via shared links on social media, so marketing efforts are combined. They can also enjoy the new features immediately, right in their browser, before choosing to install.
Native apps only work on the platform they’re created for. That means developing separate iOS and Android apps to cover most phones, and more versions if you want to reach desktop users. Full coverage requires significant upfront development, and creates a large maintenance demand. On the other hand, PWAs are built using web technologies, meaning that they’ll naturally work anywhere the web does.
The “progressive” element of PWAs is also important here. It relates to the important concept of progressive enhancement, whereby a baseline experience which works anywhere can be enhanced by taking advantage of more advanced features supported by the browser or device. So a PWA may function as a normal website in older environments, as a performant app on your smartphone, and then have some extra tricks on Windows 10, where PWAs have access to additional system resources and APIs.
Through the web app manifest, PWAs can break free of the web browser and be installed on a user’s home screen. This is key to encouraging re-engagement, as 86% of time on mobiles is spent in apps. Not only does the user get a full-screen app experience, but through modern web technologies, they can enjoy most of the same features that have made native-apps so useful.
There are many device integration APIs now available including key capabilities that users have come to expect, including geolocation, camera access, sensor input, payment processing, and VR. Push notifications are a headline feature of PWAs, and retailers could be using them to display flash sale alerts, product restock notices, or abandoned cart prompts.
When 53% of users abandon sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load (DoubleClick, 2016), it’s clear that performance should be at the top of your list for improving retention and conversion. If you need convincing, try Google’s revenue impact calculator to see what your load times are costing.
A PWA benefits from smarter cache control, allowing websites that are already streamlined to become truly turbo-charged. The result: a PWA can be launched from a home screen and ready to use in less than a second, rivalling and often beating native apps. This performance boost is a big deal to user experience, but also to bandwidth usage, and will have a huge benefit in emerging markets which depend on wireless connections.
By caching assets and content, it’s also possible for a PWA to continue working offline, or when a poor connection impedes loading, so users no longer have to be roadblocked by a blank grey screen. At the very least, the situation should be handled gracefully using a simple “You’re offline” screen.
But far smarter solutions could be achieved that allow users to carry on with their journey. A PWA for eCommerce might recall a handful of recently viewed products for review, or alternatively some top sellers that summarise what’s available. A retailer with high street stores could also offer key details like opening hours to continue facilitating visits.
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It’s clear that implementing PWA offers a range of wins for businesses. It is easily implemented using current web technologies, and delivers a superior experience for users, which in turn raises satisfaction, encourages engagement, and improves conversion. JH is already including PWA features in projects, and we believe they will become as commonly used as Responsive Web Design.
Over the last year, there has been an overwhelming amount of excitement around blockchain, but will the technology live up to the hype? From cryptocurrencies to supply chain platforms, the emerging technology that underpins these networks is a powerful tool that should be sensibly evaluated by business leaders to understand whether it is worth the investment. To help executives assess the potential return on investment (ROI) of a blockchain deployment, a Forrester Total Economic Impact™ study was commissioned. In this study, Forrester analysts interviewed real clients to build the framework for a financial analysis of the business benefits, cost savings and risks associated with blockchain.
To dive deeper into this subject, Principal Analyst Martha Bennet to sat down with some of the clients featured in the study to discuss their experiences with adoption. During this webcast, these early adopters shared firsthand the challenges they are facing and the benefits they seek from being pioneers in their respective industries. There was amazing response from the audience, but there is never enough time. Here are some questions and answers we didn’t get a chance to dive into:
With so many technologies available in the market, why should our business choose blockchain technology?
Blockchain is a tool that approaches various business needs from an innovative perspective but is not an answer for all business problems. From this angle, the technology should be viewed as a tool to address a specific need and not as a goal in itself. Therefore, it is important to understand the problem your business is trying to solve and consider the value that adopting blockchain could bring to your use case. Blockchain is a technology that adds value by fundamentally enhancing trust between multiple parties. Some of the trust benefits it can bring to a business solution are:
- Allowing multiple parties to access a single source of truth for transaction data
- Assuring multiple parties, including regulators, that data is valid and hasn’t been tampered with
- Improving efficiencies and reducing costs by removing intermediaries in processes between multiple parties
One example is Walmart, which has deployed a blockchain-based supply chain tracking system, taking a business-led approach to solving food traceability.
What can be achieved with blockchain that cannot be achieved with a traditional distributed database?
Blockchain has various advantages over a traditional distributed database. The most significant one is creating trust between parties with an immutable ledger of transactions that has no single point of failure. The distributed and audit-able nature of how blockchain data is managed means that no single party has the power to alter data integrity.
You can also read this article discussing the differences between blockchain and the distributed database, along with the benefits that blockchain provides.
What is the barrier to entry for creating a new blockchain network versus joining existing ones?
There are several factors that business leaders must consider when deciding whether to join an existing blockchain network or create a new one.
When creating a new network from scratch, many considerations such as network participants, development costs, governance rules and business operations must be taken into account. Although benefits are gained by having a stake on these considerations, addressing these challenges can take up time and resources for network founding members.
On the other hand, joining or building on top of an existing network has a much lower barrier to adoption. Many of the networking costs such as setting up governance and operations that are incurred by founding members have already been addressed. This means that on-boarding can be done easily into a network that is already functioning.
Reasonably assessing the ROI that blockchain can bring for your company can be a daunting task. However, by exploring real use cases and learning from pioneers that are already building networks, you can get started on your blockchain journey.
One failing consideration of many, many businesses worldwide is a lack of good graphic design. Sure, competent graphic design might come at a premium, but the effect it has on your business can be much more than you think. Those who reductively assess this for the first time might think that the mockups they can craft in a free photo imaging tool could suffice, or that the simplicity of their logo might not need professional help. While it’s more than fair for any business owner to try and do things by themselves (this is the grounding principle of starting a business,) it’s essential to understand just how great branding can help.
Let’s say you’re a business that has developed great web design, graphic design and your branding is perfect. You can imagine that the following benefits, from the perspective of the customer, will be worthwhile to celebrate:
Professionalism is essential to foster. But more than that, you need to show your professional. You need to give that impression. This is why lawyers wear suits all the time during the workday, not only when meeting with clients or in court. Professionalism shows that you are to be trusted, that you are competent, and that you care about getting the job done. Good graphic design can also give this impression through the appropriate means.
How your text is layered, how simple your design is, how well your color scheme, layout and logo ingenuity can show just how competent you are. We get these impressions from a logo. For example, a logo that is simply the name of the business in an industrial font shows formality, care and attention. With a creative eye, you may express even something as simple as this with relevance to that you’re trying to promote. This matters in the long term, and can be truly worthwhile to consider.
Celebrating your firm is also essential. You might be running events, and thus need event posters to generate interest. Instead of listing the acts or that which to expect at the event, a creative imagine that shows the information in the most compelling manner possible allows for passers by to WANT to read this, and to engage with your marketing content voluntarily. Great website design can often celebrate your firm by artistically rendering the ‘fun or formality factor’ you hope to express, and doing so with heavy navigability in mind. Then your website becomes something people want to bookmark in the toolbar of their browser.
The Finer Points
The difference between a homespun remedy and a professional job will always be in the finer points. The use of layering, competent photo manipulation, using image languages such as the rule of thirds to help the eye absorb the image more appropriately, how to implement your small print without drawing the eye away from your main content, and to genuinely present your firm in the most honest yet the most engaging manner possible can make all the difference when fighting the competition.
With these tips, you’re sure to implement creative and competent graphic design to your firm.
The biggest portion of customers that visit your store or website will do so just one time, and in fact, some estimates put this at around the 80% mark. All the hard work that goes into marketing your brand, and the outlay involved in driving traffic your way, and then many of them turn into a one-off hit. It can cost 5 times as much to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Research also shows that you will make higher profits by retaining the customers you already have compared to taking on new ones.
Although, of course, new customers are important to your brand, so is taking care of the loyal buyers you already have. The probability of selling to a new customer is between 5 and 20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60 and 70%, and they are likely to spend more. So which is the most important? They both are in their own way but there are advantages to keeping the customers you already have.
Relegating Sales Duties
When a new business starts, it will often be the owner that deals with customers. There are not so many in the early days and it is much easier to build a relationship with them. However, as the business starts to grow this becomes unsustainable. There are only 24 hours in each day, and only so many customers an owner can deal with.
Those early customers are likely to stay loyal, as the personal touch they received will not be forgotten. However, at this point, you will need to take on employees to handle the extra customers, and you will need to train them to be a personable with the customers as you have been.
You may well feel that no one will sell the brand as well as you do, and that may well be right. You cannot expect your staff to win over every enquirer but a process that enables you to start scaling sales enables for that to happen, and you should just be looking to get your fair share of conversions. This may take some time and effort, but it will be worth it.
If as the owner of the business, you never do anything else other than sales, you will be restricting the growth, as there are other tasks you should be doing such as dealing with suppliers to ensure you are getting the best deals.
When you have created a loyal customer base they are almost like a free form of advertising. They will become advocates of your brand and recommend you to other potential customers. Past research has shown that consumers will more likely buy from a brand that they have been recommended to than one they know nothing about.
Word of mouth can create you a lot of new sales, and as those new customers become loyal too, it has a knock-on effect of even more recommendations.
Consumers that have been buying your products for some time are far more likely to give you feedback, good and bad. They will not be so concerned about picking up the phone or emailing you and telling you about a problem with something they have just received. Having feedback from loyal customers like this is invaluable, as it lets you correct any problems that a new customer may encounter, which can stop them buying from you again.
Good feedback is also great, as then you know there is something you are getting right.
Paying The Price For The Service
Long-time customers are less price conscious, as they will trust your brand and know that they are receiving a high-quality customer service. Often, when they see a similar product at a lower price, they will still pay you the premium because of the trust and service factors. It is sometimes thought that if it costs less it must be of an inferior quality, and of course, that could well be the case.
Less Marketing Costs
As it costs much less to retain existing customers, you may be able to reduce your marketing budget. This could then be extra profits for your business or could be passed on as a price reduction in the form of a special offer, free gift or loyalty bonus to your existing loyal customers.
Simple things like sending them a calendar before the start of a New Year can mean so much toward their continued purchasing of your brand.
Caring about your existing customers is vital to the continued success and growth of your brand, and letting them know they are more than just a number will be a huge help in retaining them.
PWA’s are a great idea. They are definitely going to make some changes to the way we interact with apps on our devices.
- They are more reasonable in terms of time and money to develop. Basically, you’d be developing a website and app at the same time.
- They function like a native app, for the most part, and if made right, have awesome UX.
- A lot of bigger businesses are developing PWA versions of their native apps because they are realising the benefits of doing so
There’s so much information out there, but you can read more below and decide for yourself.
Progressive Web Apps are:
- alternative to traditional native apps,
- are more cost and time efficient to develop
- can also broaden a business’s target market.
What is a PWA?
Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, are web apps that load like regular websites or web pages, but behave like native apps.
Simply, they’re a website you can download onto your phone. They’re actually a website with no search bar and access to your storage so they can save things to your phone, like photos. In some cases, it’s possible to send push notifications even when the user isn’t on the website.
There are a lot of benefits to this new technology, but first, it’s worth taking a look at the differences between PWAs and native apps.
PWA vs Native App
PWAs, in a lot of ways, behave like Native Apps. But there are some key differences.
PWAs don’t require an app store, which gives more freedom concerning creating different types of apps. Also, PWAs are progressive, meaning that they work for every user, regardless of their browser choice or device and fit desktop, mobile and tablet screens.
They’re connectivity independent, so they can work offline or on low-quality networks and are very easy to install. The PWA icon will be displayed on the user’s home screen without having to deal with app stores.
It’s also important to note that writing a website is much quicker, and therefore more cost-effective — building a PWA is like making a website and app at the same time! The developers can create one version of the app that’ll display the same way, and seamlessly, on all devices
Finally, PWAs are far more lightweight, meaning that they take up less space on your user’s devices, but also allow your users to consume less data.
PWAs are still a new technology, and that means they aren’t perfect. Not just because anyone can use them, because older browsers might not support them. Also, a lot of people might not know how they work and won’t realise they could install the website like an app. It may also be said that they’re harder to find because they aren’t readily available in app stores yet. There are still some fun functions that can’t be used with PWAs, like fingerprint scanning, but it’s only a matter of time before PWAs start to function the same, if not better than native apps.
Why Build a PWA?
Most companies that need to target a broader audience on their mobile devices are creating PWAs. Mobile websites are quick and easy to get, but the user experience isn’t great. Native apps have excellent user experience, but they are limited to specific devices and must be downloaded from an app store. This means that businesses lose the benefit of their users’ impulse behaviour. PWAs pre-cache, which means that they download the most recent version of the site when they connect to the internet.
Compared to native apps, PWAs are generally just more efficient and work on demand — they’re always accessible. It’s also easy to re-engage users through features like push notifications.
PWAs are app-like, and use app-style navigation and interactions, so users won’t feel that they have the same problems when trying to navigate tricky websites on their mobile devices. The user also consumes less data and doesn’t have to sacrifice any of conveniences they would have using a native app.
Many businesses are now moving towards creating PWAs to save on costs, but also because they want to reach a wider audience. As a result of native apps being developed specifically for iOS or Android, and the fact that they often consume a large amount of data limits businesses to a smaller audience of users. Some of the more notable PWA projects and their successes are Twitter, StarBucks, Trivago and Forbes.
PWAs Are Awesome!
For business owners, developing a PWA rather than a native app, or alongside an existing native app, is absolutely worthwhile. It means a business can save more time and more money. On average, companies that have built PWAs managed to do so in roughly 3 months. Because of the overall efficiency in developing PWAs, developers have been sharing their knowledge about how to make an app a PWA.
Depending on the project, having a PWA developed can be a smarter move, especially if the business goal is to broaden your market reach, you’re working with a smaller budget or just want to build something using the latest technology!
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When your small business has progressed to a point where you are ready to hire employees, it is essential to think about the workplace culture, environment, and overall harmony that those employees will work in. After all, your staff will spend around 40 hours per week in the office, and there is an onus on you as a business owner to ensure that their working experience is as pleasant as it can be.
Over recent years, what constitutes a good working environment has changed somewhat. Once, a business would be considered to be doing well if they provided a pleasant office layout, invested in comfortable chairs, and provided necessary on-site facilities such as a kitchen. However, businesses are now expected to expand their remit, with unconventional workplaces such as Google leading the way as the new normal.
However, whether you believe ping pong tables in the office are essential or not, there is one critical element of a good workplace that has remained consistent throughout the years: the need for workplace harmony.
What is workplace harmony?
Workplace harmony is a catch-all concept that describes how well a workplace functions, and how happy the people working there are. It is thought that with a harmonious workplace, productivity is higher, as is overall staff happiness.
What constitutes good workplace harmony?
Interestingly enough, what makes a workplace harmonious is rather difficult to pinpoint, and perhaps the single biggest factor is, simply, the absence of causes of disharmony. Essentially, by minimising the factors that can cause bad workplace harmony, you naturally create good workplace harmony as a result.
What are the disharmony factors you need to eliminate?
There are a number of issues that can greatly impact the harmony of a workplace, so it’s advisable to investigate and rectify these in turn:
- Disagreements between colleagues are among the biggest influences on workplace disharmony, and it can proceed to the point that it becomes bullying or even harassment. This is a serious issue that needs addressing head-on, as the last thing that you, or your employees, need are to experience disputes severe enough to require assistance from an employment law attorney to resolve. If you identify issues developing between two or more employees, then separate them as far as is possible, and potentially explore mediation options that can help get them back on the same page.
- A lack of empowerment can also influence workplace harmony; employees need to feel that their contribution is important, that their work is valued, and that they have the ability to make their own decisions. There are some great tips for empowering your staff here, all of which could greatly benefit the overall workplace harmony of your business.
- A poorly-designed office space can also be damaging to harmony, especially if the layout of the office prevents employees from communicating with one another effectively. It’s well worth asking your staff how they feel about the overall office design; if they’re unhappy, then work with them to improve it.
With a harmonious working environment for your staff assured, you should be all the better equipped to ensure a high level of achievement from that staff, which should greatly contribute to your chances of sustaining a successful business.
As you most likely know, every great business needs a great plan. If you’re running a new business then you should already have some ideas for the general direction and structure of your company. You probably have an initial business plan already, but that doesn’t mean your work is done. Good business preparation requires constant planning. If your new business is going to do well then you need to grow. Your company won’t be new forever, but your ideas need to be new if you’re going to progress. Here’s what it takes to plan a small business well.
An expectation of the unexpected.
You also need to expect the unexpected if you want to plan your new business well. It’s easy to make a plan for all the products you’re going to create and all the marketing strategies you’re going to implement, but planning for unpredictable events is slightly harder. You might also want to put legal security measures in place to cover your business’ back, for example. Costly lawsuits can crush small businesses before they’ve even had a chance to really grow. Seek help from a small business solicitor if you’re struggling. You could legal advice with employment agreements, corporate issues, contracts, and other business-related matters. It’s important to know where you stand in a legal sense if you want to know how to protect your business from unexpected issues when they arise.
You should also have a plan of action to protect your company’s data. Whether it’s unexpected file corruption or deletion, your business’ digital files can be damaged or lost unexpectedly. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a plan B. You should consider backing up your documents on a cloud storage system. That way, your data will be protected off-site. Otherwise, the cost of losing mass amounts of data (both in time and money) could grind your new business to a halt before it’s even taken off. You should also install firewalls and other security-based software to protect your system against infiltration. Stolen information could be damaging to your company’s reputation. If your customers feel that their details aren’t secure then they’ll lose faith in your business, and that could be very damaging to a new company. Digital security should be a key part of your business plan.
A great strategy to build your client base.
If your new business is going to do well then you need to start by building your client base. After all, you need profits if you’re going to grow. You also need to gain customers if you want to build your reputation and increase brand awareness in your industry. Your initial planning should revolve around attracting customers so that your new business can grow. A social media strategy is one of the best ways in which you can make this happen. Your business should use social networks to build a relationship with customers. Answer their questions, respond to comments, and update them on solutions to issues you might have been experiencing (e.g. website downtime). The point is that social media is a platform which allows you to communicate with customers and develop lasting relationships. In turn, this will ensure that you gain long-term customers rather than one-time customers. This is the key to client retention. Increasing sales is one thing, but increasing your client base is another.
Additionally, you should create a strategy as part of your business plan to utilise your existing customers when growing your client base. After all, spreading brand awareness through word of mouth is still one of the most effective advertising strategies. You might just need to encourage your customers to get talking. Obviously, happy customers are more likely to leave great testimonials on your website and tell their friends about you, but happy customers don’t always feel the urge to spread the word. Maybe you could start a referral scheme; if people get discounts for referring your company to friends and family then they’ll be more likely to talk about you. On another note, you could offer deals to customers on their second or third purchase as an incentive to keep them returning to your business. Client retention is easier if you show your customers that they’re valued. If you‘re loyal to your customers then they’ll be loyal to you. It’s a two-way street. That’s how you’ll start to steadily grow a permanent client base.