We have three categories of Hard Trends to consider: technology, demographics and regulatory.
In 2016 Daniel Burrus said: “Over the next 5 short years, we are going to transform – not change – we are going to transform every business process – how we sell, how we market, how we communicate, how we collaborate, how we innovate, how we train, how we educate, how we pay for things and how we secure our digital assets. All of that will not just change. It will be transformed over a short period of time because the tools to do it are already in existence. Now that’s the hard trend. What’s the soft trend? And the soft trend is - will your organization transform those processes?” . If you haven’t observed that these processes have been changing, it is time to wake up and take a look at what is going on.
It is time to consider which scenario is waiting for us. In what way will we change how we sell and communicate? Looking at the decisions of consumers, we see they are more and more eager to use mobile devices. eMarketer says that mobile commerce will keep its growing role: "Mcommerce sales worldwide have reached an estimated $1.357 trillion in 2017, or 58.9% of ecommerce spending overall. By 2021, mcommerce will have accounted for 72.9% of the ecommerce market". Additionally, personal voice assistants are becoming popular, just as futurists predicted. In the beginning of 2018, Daniel Burrus presented the Top 20 Technologies – Driven Hard Trends. We can find there such trends called “smart virtual e-assistants and voice-enabled devices” - in the description we read: “Soon retailers will have a Siri-like sales assistant” . Are we going to change our ways of selling based on chatbots and e-assistant on mobile devices? It is possible.
So, is a voice interface a key element on how the selling process will be transformed? Not really! Chris Pemberton from Gartner in the article “Think Mobility, not mobile "writes that mobile is much more than “just a channel”. “The trends mandating a change in perspective to something more than just “mobile marketing” include the shift from smart devices to smart environments and intelligent agents, the need to utilize data that is already available with the right investments in analytics and the demand for connected, synchronized mobile marketing” . It is not about using mobile devices and technologies, but about the way customers interact with mobile devices and the context of these interactions (frequency of usage, content consumption, web searches, use of location services). Thinking mobility means to create consistent strategies where we do not only rely on a chatbot or a Messenger, but follow the customer journey with a more holistic approach.
We don’t know how exactly the technology will look like within the next 10 years, but we know that our reality will change for sure and we can already notice the symptoms of the future. Customers lead more “mobile” lives – they want to buy wherever they are, regardless at what time. They want to get cheap services with high quality. They want to feel safe during shopping, and at the same time – they want to get what they are looking for faster. The challenge is to change our point of view – we should no longer ask questions like “what is more important? – cheap or high-quality services?” or “what do the consumer need? – more safety or comfort?”. Our perspective needs to be altered by asking questions more like “how we can deliver both cheap and high-quality services?” and “how we can provide high safety and comfort in the same time?”. We don’t know whether a voice interface is a key element in the transformation of the selling processes, but we do know what a hard trend is, and it is Mobility! The best way to be ready for what the future holds is by observing the customer journey and how people get in contact with specific touchpoints, because they need to become more mobile.
1. Futurist Of The Year, Interview with Daniel Burrus, https://www.youtube.com/
2. eMarketer, Worldwide Retail and Ecommerce Sales: eMarketer’s Updated Forecast and New Mcommerce Estimates for 2016-2021, Published on January 29, 2018
3. Daniel Burrus, Daniel Burrus’ Top 20 Technology-Driven Hard Trends, January 4, 2018
4. Chris Pemberton, Think Mobility, Not Mobile, Gartner, January 9, 2018