The world of business has undergone a major facelift over the last 20 years. While some business practices have remained the same, other aspects of doing business are radically different today. The way businesses market to customers and engage in business transactions, for example, has taken on a new life of its own. The bulk of this fundamental shift in how business is carried out today results from changes in technology and how people go about exchanging money. The following items represent areas where changes in doing business have taken place.
Twenty-years-ago, the general widespread public use of the Internet was still in its early stages. While people were getting over the initial wow-factor of creating websites, learning new ideas, and using email, corporations were rapidly vying for control of the online marketplace. Companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook emerged as central hubs of modern commerce in the digital realm. Since that time, search engine optimization, social networking, social bookmarking, and other forms of digital traffic generation have come of age. These avenues exist today as a standard basis of operation in an ongoing endeavor to increase internet-based sales volume. Affiliate programs, email lists with auto-responders, and the Blogosphere emerged as equally viable avenues through which businesses reached out and marketed to the masses. Today, the Internet has realized billions in profits from the increasing number of online business transactions. Creating a company website, along with the Exodus away from traditional print advertisements, demonstrates a major difference in how modern business owners think about marketing to consumers. Still the search continues for the next way to milk and leverage the Internet to produce new ways of getting at untapped online traffic.
POS Systems in Retail Businesses
Twenty-years ago, people had little experience with mobile payments and touch screen product access in retail establishments. Along with other thriving technologies, the rise of modern Point Of Sale (POS) systems has granted modern retailers a major advantage in optimizing their sales volume. From allowing customers direct access to on-site products and numerous payment options, POS systems make running a retail business more efficient and cost effective. Automation, which allows for inventory control measures, has all but revolutionized how tracking and ordering inventory is done today. Next step in evolution of payment systems is mobile payment, and although it is not so widespread as of yet, steps have been made in that direction and the biggest is yet to come.
Twenty-years-ago, David Chaum and the online Digi-cash project were well underway, but crashed in 1998 as Chaum’s business was driven into bankruptcy. Imagining cryptocurrencies to be a faded pipe dream, various attempts were made to revive the effort. The most successful of these attempts was the popular electronic transaction standard introduced by PayPal. According to a brief history of cryptocurrencies found at: BitCoin Mag, 2008 marked the introduction of the Bitcoin paper by Satoshi Nakamoto. After 2008, the rise of Bitcoin has spawned an entire online exchange of cryptocurrencies, some of which are considered as viable forms of currency for engaging in business-related transactions today. Not only have cryptocurrencies been used in traditional businesses, but they reside as unofficial mediums of monetary exchange in many less publicized private online markets.
The App Revolution
In 1995 portable cell phones were finally beginning to reach a manageable size. The general public was starting to catch on to the cellular revolution. According to Web Designer Depot, 1996 gave rise to the first smartphone series, the Nokia 9000 Communicator. Today, smartphone technology and app driven commerce is at the heart of modern business. From apps that display company products to apps that provide a vast array of payment methods at the touch of a button, consumers and business owners alike are virtually unable to function without a smartphone in their hand. One edge the smartphone provides to a consumer today, which was not around 20-years-ago comes from apps that allow shoppers to do local comparison shopping on the go. Although business owners may not like that consumers have such easy access to digitally-based price comparison tools, it nevertheless is a sign of how changes in technology have worked to make consumers more savvy shoppers.
It is difficult to ignore how modern innovation has changed the business world in the last 20-years. In many respects, starting and running a business has never been easier. Social Media, Internet, advanced payment methods, blazing fast delivery and dozens of new ways to engage the customers have made the consumers spend more than ever. Since anyone, armed with a little forward thinking, is able to market to consumers in the digital age, it sometimes begs the question of why more people have not taken the plunge and become business owners themselves.