Whether we realise it or not, trends emerge in our everyday life as well as the business arena on a regular basis. There is an old saying in the world of stock market investment “the trend is your friend”. This is also something which should be appreciated in the online business sector because very often, with hindsight, we can look back and see the emergence of new trends which we failed to accommodate into our way of thinking. So, are there any examples where trends of years gone by were ignored by many online businesses only to emerge as the catalyst for huge change in the future?
While the vast majority of those who have an online presence will be acutely aware of the power and influence of social media, how many in the world of commerce have always appreciated social media as a business tool? When Facebook first appeared on the scene many companies dismissed this, and other forms of social media such as Twitter, as trends. They saw absolutely no relevance to the world of business; many found it difficult to see how it would attract new customers and as a promotional tool it was considered to be a nonstarter. Oh, how wrong they were!
As we said, it is easy to look back in hindsight and spot the turning point in the world of social media and the ongoing integration into the world of online business. Social media continues to grow in popularity, grow in influence, and while the likes of Facebook and Twitter may grab the headlines, there are many more social media channels today. Indeed the likes of Google, and other popular search engines have been forced to include the social media footprint of all businesses in their search algorithms. Yes, social media is now an integral part of the online business world, and while you may have missed out on the early years, it is not too late to join the party.
Mobile compatible websites
We touched on mobile compatible websites in one of our recent articles, but when looking at new trends, this is an area which cannot be ignored. How many people reading this article initially discounted the need for mobile compatible websites? How many thought that the likes of Google would never incorporate mobile compatibility with their search engine algorithms? How many online businesses have lived to regret not embracing mobile compatibility when the trend first emerged?
The fact is that there are so many different mobile internet products available today such as mobile phones and tablets to name but two. Due to size constraints, and specific coding issues with some website designs, the eye-catching designs of years gone have actually been rendered useless on mobile devices. Thankfully there is a growing array of mobile compatible website designs available today, and indeed a good designer may well be able to adapt your existing design to this new mobile world.
It is widely acknowledged that in the early years the cost of mobile compatible website designs was relatively high and out of the reach of some smaller business operators. However, saving a few pounds in years gone by could well have cost online businesses a multiple of these potential savings in lost business. Those businesses unable or unwilling to adapt to mobile compatible devices are going backwards on the search engines, they have been left behind and are missing out on a whole new marketplace. Also, for many businesses the investment in more traditional website designs and functionality of years gone by has been lost.
Social media and mobile compatible websites are just too trends which have emerged over the last 20 years and will play an ever greater role in the world of online business. These are also two great examples of developing trends which were actually ignored, or underestimated, by many in the world of online business. As we see with so many different elements of the online business arena, search engines are now dictating that successful websites maintain and grow their social media footprint. While also ensuring their website designs and functionality are compatible with modern day mobile internet devices.
Looking back with hindsight is very easy, but in all honesty, the signs were there many years ago – but unfortunately many entrepreneurs failed to recognise them. Those who joined the social media and mobile compatibility revolution in the early years will have benefited enormously. While not all trends have a lasting impact on the world of e-commerce, if you can spot those who will have a long-term influence you can use them to your advantage.