3 Business Trends to Watch Out for in 2021

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There’s never been a better time to be in business. Over and above the impressive rate at which Internet connectivity has grown globally, technology innovation in payments and access to smartphones and virtual services underpin a more complete digital populace.

Today, a growing number of people around the world can easily access low cost, life-changing digital tools, products and services. What are the key components behind the current trajectory and which trends are driving the momentum?

  1. The Rapid Pace of New Business Creation Continues

The perception of working just to make money has changed. Increasingly, people are getting into business to feed their passions and make a sustainable living as part of a balanced life. In addition, high unemployment rates, low paid corporate careers, and the threat of catastrophes beyond the individual’s control make the independent business owner pathway even more appealing. However, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Before committing to a new business venture, one of the most important things to consider is a gap in the market. Does this product or service exist in your market? Is there a need for it? How competitive is the space? An initial analysis will signal if there is an opportunity for your business idea to take hold or if you should abandon the idea before committing valuable time, money and resources to it.

  1. Online Shopping Will Continue to Break Boundaries

If online shopping continues to grow as it did in 2020 (it will!), fierce competition will grow in line. Last year, South African ecommerce got its biggest boost yet as a result of the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns which drove more people online in search of goods of services. According to a recent Google study of South African consumer behaviours, thirty five percent of all consumers now have shopping apps installed on their phone (up from 30% in 2019). Even though apps are a proven method of capturing customer loyalty, on the Internet there are many other factors that can influence customers one way or the other. To prosper online, businesses must remain steps ahead on several fronts including: the customer journey, trust signals, customer service, online security and payments to name just a few.

  1. Customer Expectations of Payment Flexibility are Growing

The ubiquity of smartphones has forced businesses to think differently about how to adapt the shopping experience. In 2021, most businesses recognise and understand the importance of smaller screens in an e-commerce strategy. However, simply being ‘mobile friendly’ or ‘having an app’ is missing the essence of the trend. Ensuring the entire customer experience and product delivery follow through is attuned with today’s consumer, is paramount. Payments, or how people pay for your goods and services online, is an opportunity for any e-tailer to shine. Providing facilities to transact securely and seamlessly is a key differentiator in how consumers choose their preferred e-commerce player. Cash, credit cards, debit cards, EFT, you name it; there are many ways to pay. In South Africa, where many citizens are unbanked, there are opportunities to cater for these nuances through ‘pay-in-store’ options and strategic partnerships. 

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