It is beyond any dispute; online businesses are here to stay. As a matter of fact, the internet in particular and online business in general have become so intertwined with our day to day life so much so that, there is currently a generation which is growing having transacted most of their businesses online rather than offline. It is this generation that is going to drive online businesses forward in the years to come.
To fully understand online businesses in its totality, it is important to consider where the market is currently and then try to see what the future holds for this type of business.
What is the current state of online businesses?
The online business is currently awash with opportunities. Each and every day there are new channels, processes, products and markets that are being introduced or getting conquered. The most profitable online businesses over time have been those that get a niche market or come up with a new way of transacting online business that overtime becomes the standard for the future.
The normal SEO techniques have come under close scrutiny over the past years, with search engines such as Google and Yahoo constantly changing their algorithms in an attempt to weed out unethical practices, thus most online businesses are always trying to come up with better and smarter ways of not only attracting but also maintaining their clientele.
The growth of mobile telephony has also forced a whole lot of online businesses to go back to the drawing board and embrace mobile phones or m-commerce as a viable channel of doing business. This has led to redevelopment of most online sites to allow for mobile phone viewership. In fact some research data from mobile phone companies have shown that in certain countries or continents, most people access the internet mostly through a mobile phone or device.
The growth of social media such as Facebook and Twitter has also provided a much more interactive, inquisitive and highly sensitive clientele in the online business. Most online businesses of repute have been forced to build a strong and very active social media presence; such teams are also trained not only to be reactive but to be more proactive in their day to day dealings with clients in the form of friends and followers.
Most online businesses have embraced stringent online security measures to either safeguard client records or protect their online platform from intrusion. They have done this by seeking the services of renowned online security service providers who display approval and compliance signs on select online businesses who have implemented specific measures. This has greatly reduced instances of fraud, theft and impersonation in the online businesses, translating into more clients, less complaints and good profit margins.
With increased competition in the online trading arena, there is currently a shift from just having an online business to also being able to competently manage it, see it grow and ensure its profitability. In the earlier days, most brick and mortar companies that started online businesses just looked at them as side businesses that could be supported by other arms of the same business. This has since changed and most online businesses are considered as business units that must return some profits; they are thus more professionally developed and managed.
The target market of most if not all online businesses have become more knowledgeable, savvy and demanding. Clients are now more aware of scams, online marketing gimmicks, sales offers and discount codes. They are thus more discerning, much more rigid in terms of what they are looking for and also spend much more time searching and talking or inquiring about a product or service from friends or other online sites before making a purchase. They are also more likely to try out services or products from other competitors than previously envisaged. This has in turn impacted positively to the masses as most online businesses are more aware about the needs and requirements of clients and are bound to respond faster to inquiries, complaints or compliments.
What does the future portend?
Several studies have shown that the amount of money each person will spend online in the next few years is bound to grow. This will be supported by the improved penetration of e-commerce in various facets of the normal business cycle or process. It will also be greatly enhanced by the improved acceptance levels of online credit card usage due to enhanced security measures and increased numbers of business enterprises willing and ready to invest in the same.
In the future, the penetration level of online businesses will grow exponentially, even though this growth will not be the same across the board, the growth levels across the world will be quite huge. This growth is also bound to occur at different periods in different continents.
This growth will dramatically shrink the geographical boundaries both within and outside continents and countries, further opening up new marketing frontiers for aggressive and committed online businesses that would have read the market and positioned themselves accordingly.
This phenomenal growth of the online business is bound to generate new business opportunities and demand for a more skilled and technically savvy workforce. There will be increased need for employees who can market goods and services effectively online to a much wider group of customers using a more global platform and attend to problems from different cultures and languages.
Areas such as social media convergence and coordination will form focal points for very many online businesses in the near future. There will also be increased need for more secure, versatile and easy to deploy payment systems which will be run and managed across borders and handle different currencies. The subsequent integration of such services for an online business which will be attracting global clients will prove to be quite a challenge.
In the near future, as more of these technologies converge, the technical gap that currently exists between m-commerce and e-commerce is bound to shrink considerably. Most if not all online businesses will embrace m-commerce as part and parcel of online trade.
There is also a school of thought out there that believes the role of internet marketing tools such as SEO, link baits and back links will greatly reduce, if not disappear completely as such techniques will be wholly replaced by more genuine relationships which will be anchored on trust building and genuine connection amongst players in the market. Those who subscribe to this idea do believe that this shift has already begun and is being driven by social media connections that now abound.
But whichever way you look at it, change is imminent and it is thus foolhardy to expect that modes of attracting and maintaining clients will stagnate or remain constant. There is bound to be a paradigm shift in the ways in which online business will attract and keep their clientele. A new school of online business is thus inevitable. Those who will embrace this change will prosper, those who resist it will be swept away.
About the Author:
Pat Headley is an online business professional and a marketing system automation specialist who runs a successful online business.
He immerse himself in personal development and has developed the 6 steps to success coaching programme based on principles found in this book In 6 Steps 2 Online Business Success.
He is also the mind behind the 6-steps success system which is an online business education