How can your business benefit from Industry 4.0, Digitization and E Commerce

Industry 4.0 has greatly affected how businesses deal with customers. It has affected not only how companies are selling products to the customers by using e-commerce but also how to make proper transactions.

Digitalization and e-commerce aim to increase the overall sales while also making sure customers stay happy with the products or services that your offer to them. Many companies that have incorporated digitalization and e-commerce into their activities are reaping great success.

Impact of Industry 4.0 and Changes in Customer Expectations

In today’s world where technologies affect every part of our lives or where it can be applied in almost all fields, adding them to your business will give you the extra push you need to stay ahead of your rivals along with the increase of your sales and profits.

Digitalization makes it easier for you to handle all aspects of your business, from managing inventory to automation of production of products and services. All these simplify the way you handle your business. Moreover, digitalization provides so many platforms and tools that allow medium and large-sized companies to run their businesses efficiently.

B2B Digital Commerce and Operational Innovations

B2B commerce has come a long way from what it used to be. With technological changes being added to most parts of businesses, B2B is no exception. Although, integration of new technologies wasn’t as fast as in other sectors of businesses. However, it has finally arrived and so many B2B businesses are finally adapting and focusing on the right digital practices. This is due to the benefits that B2B e-commerce offers. The main benefits are:

  • Automation of production activities,
  • Interconnection of products,
  • Proper management of inventory,
  • Improved customer services,
  • Management of warehouses,
  • Reduce costs in running business,
  • Tools that allow reaching people globally,
  • Better customer relationships through CRM.

Nowadays, B2B business model allows you to easily make transactions and close more deals with so many companies and customers from all over the world without the need to travel — you can just do everything digitally. Also, B2B commerce usually helps to increase sales by creating an atmosphere that makes customers want to buy impulsively. These all allow you to save time and improve the efficacy of your business.

Opportunities for Industrial Companies

The digitalization of B2B commerce gave so many advantages and improvements. Let’s check some of them:

  • Increased target audience

The target audience is everything. You can now reach so many consumers from all parts of the world and supply your products to them. Plus, you no longer need to place information in paper catalogs as you can simply create a website where you can provide potential customers with all the necessary information that they need before purchasing any item.

  • Improved customer service

Making sure customers are pleased is the most important factor that determines the growth of your business. If customers are satisfied you will gain loyalty and new customers. With features such as customer care, availability of order history and apps that track goods before they are delivered, many people are opting to use online stores.

Digitalization also allows customers to make payments using so many methods. Another feature that is making customers opt for online shopping is the fact that they can return goods that they may not be pleased with. An estimated 70% of Americans prefer shopping online according to Mintel research.

  • Better analysis of data

From business transactions, customer orders and stocks, you can determine trends and see where there is potential for expansion. Careful analysis of all the information can help to determine consumer needs and thus, make changes in the business that will further raise company’s sales and profits.

  • E-commerce platforms and social commerce

The platforms like payever can improve sales by simplifying all the activities. On the other hand, social commerce can help you to easily reach customers by using social media. With more than 2 billion people using social media, advertising on these channels will ensure your product and services are seen by many people.

IoT: Interconnection of Products and Services

The internet of things (IoT) simply refers to interconnection of both physical and digital aspects of businesses so that there can be transparent exchange and collection of data. IoT allows for companies to remotely control objects or business activities more efficiently with a reduced workforce.

This technology allows interconnection between devices, systems, and services that provide M2M (Machine-to-machine) communications. Therefore, IoT provides easy automation of many fields of industries and enables businesses to use applications like Smart grid.

IoT uses so many devices such as home smart devices and smart thermostat to collect and gather data. They do this by connecting and using other available technologies and then provide a flow of data to other devices. IoT is a platform that is being used by many companies such as smart city as it allows you to aggregate data, store it and access it more easily and efficiently.

IoT can be used in media to help to target audiences that businesses need to advertise to and to collect and analyze data that shows changes in customer behavior. This can provide a valuable insight on what to produce to satisfy the market and thus, improve growth and sales in your business. An estimated 2.8 billion devices on the internet of things is believed to be available by 2020.

Innovative Digital Business Models

Digitalization has made so many business activities possible and it makes you do more with less time. There are so many platforms that you can use to propel your business into the future and make it a major contender with even the biggest companies out there.

Rapid implementation of digital business models will improve and lead to the growth of your business. These models provide the basis and systems that can simplify your transitional process to a digitalized business. These models can help you to come up with an effective strategy that will lead to a growth of your business.

Companies with a lot of information should consider using e-commerce as they can put all the data on the internet, making it easier for people to access it and further buy products and services online. With tools like web analytics, you can collect information that will improve how you market your products. Techniques that you can use in web analytics includes marketing mix models, optimizing your website, improving pricing, and adding promotions.

Any business that chooses to use e-commerce platforms can make sure they pick the right model for them to run their online business activities.

Growing Digitization of Value Chains

Value chains activities are designed to add value to products at each single step before they are delivered to customers. Components of value chain activities include primary and secondary activities.

Primary activities include management of activities resulting in product manufacturing while secondary activities involve finance and information technology. It is for this reason the secondary activities are also regarded as support functions.

Digitalization of value chains can now allow you to present your product on the internet and utilize such features as:

  • Electronic transfers of money,
  • Management of transactions,
  • Marketing instruments,
  • Distribution channel, and
  • Supply chain.

Value chain activities can help companies to understand customer needs and design products that will please customers. Value chain activities can also be used to direct production processes such as:

  • Providing an easier way of getting raw materials,
  • Manufacturing process and,
  • Even storage of products.

These activities will further help you to deliver goods to customers and allow you to provide better customer services. They are used by many digitally integrated stores as a way of improving customer relations and gaining customer loyalty.

Fast-learning Digital Culture

With so many online sites and social media, many people have access to learn about the latest trends in digitalization. The best way to deal with changes in technology is by adapting the digital culture into your business.

This not only involves you digitalizing all procedure in your company but also making sure your workers are taught about digitalization to have a full understanding of how digitalization works.

Focus on training that will incorporate the digital culture into your business from all sides. Ensure that your staff is up to date with the latest trends. It will be very beneficial in the long term as it can allow to understand how to integrate digitalization from a personal level to a corporate level.

Summary

Utilizing digital changes in technology in your businesses has so many benefits apart from the obvious one of making great profits. Although, costs to transition your business from a traditional one to a digitalized version may be different and some way high, but it is worth it in the long run.

With features like automation of most business activities, you will end up reducing your workforce and consequently spend less while running your business. Using other platforms like social commerce and social marketing can provide added value into running a digitally integrated store.

You can sit back and enjoy the perks that come with the digitalization of your business. All these will lead to the growth of your business and allow you to compete with some of the most successful companies in the world.

Mobile app design in 2019

1. Navigation 2.0

There has been long going debate on top vs bottom navigation, we will finally sway towards the latter in 2019. Widespread adoption of these two UX elements across iOS and Android will define this transition: Bottom Sheetsand Swipe Up gestures.

Its a known fact that users prefer using one thumb to get things done on mobile phones. Ubiquity of large screen devices and one handed usage makes bottom of the screen a prime real estate and appropriate for placing important buttons within reach.

Left: Side drawer against Bottom sheet, Right: Overflow menu against Bottom sheet

Bottom sheet: Designers now frequently prefer bottom sheet for sub-flows, and instead of other components such as overflow drop-downs, hamburger side-drawers and pop-up dialogues.

Bottom sheets are incredibly flexible as they facilitate vertical scroll for additional content and horizontal scroll (carousel) for similar content, a case never possible previously without jumping screens. Hence, one can design end-to-end and seamless sub-flows using bottom sheet while keeping primary context as anchor in background.

Swipe Up gestures: The swipe up gestures for closing an app, going back and opening app drawer have replaced the home button/bottom tab bar in recent times. This makes room for using bottom navigation in apps.

Having two clear sections: content (top area) and navigation (bottom area)as a practice across popular apps will standardise flows and lower the cognitive load while increasing affordance for users. Both, Material and HIG have included guidelines for bottom navigation in recent updates.

2. Interplay of Voice and Visual interfaces

Voice interfaces (VUI) is the next big thing in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). While visual and voice interfaces have largely remained independent entities till now, 2019 will see seamless integration of both and adoption at scale.

We might or might not have the mic button on visual UIs. While using an app, just speak when you feel like and the app will interpret it in context. It is going to be transparent.

Driving a car, answer a call by just saying “pick it up”, read a notification by saying “read it for me”. Want to listen to a book while reading it, say “narrate this chapter ”, or maybe “highlight last sentence” or “what does that mean”. Don’t want to sort a lengthy scroll on a small screen, say “show me cheapest option and the fastest option” or skip the whole flow by saying “find the cheapest option and book it using my Amex”. When chatting, say “send uhhhhh”, or “share live location for 30 mins”, easy!

Look forward exciting products in this space, specially with localisation also coming into the picture.

Mic UI in Google search, Whatsapp and Prime music

3. Vernacular is not only for content

As the world turns to Next Billion Users, localisation will mean more than just content. It will include copy, iconography, colors, UI metaphors, and UX flows and features.

For example, for vernacular user base FB has english UI but juxtaposes local copy for “What’s on your mind”, PayTm provides localised UI for each language, and Sharechat hides a feature (adult content) for certain languages. Google Tez (now Google Pay) was fundamentally built for local users and focussed on building Digital Trust using explicit messaging, simple flows and minimal features.

In one of the recent user studies in a tier 3 city in Tamil Nadu, our users preferred local metaphors like namaste, garland etc instead of “like” for appreciating something. Imagine it from one user’s perspective. Unlike many, she is new to internet. Her perception is restricted to her context (local) and learning curve (for english) is high for her. She will not be able to use a product unless its tailored for her.

There are many examples of how apps are increasingly accommodating multiple languages in products. Vernacular targeting will require designs to factor in this variable, whether at content level, or UI, or UX, or at product level is dependent on the case.

Screengrabs of Google Pay in Gujarati, Sharechat in Punjabi and PayTM in Hindi

4. Design Systems

Two main design systems: Material on android and Human Interface Guidelines on iOS are widely incorporated in apps. These systems provide guidelines for commonly used components such as headers, cards, bottom sheets et. al. Code libraries of these components are also easily available. Additionally, users are also used to these components and layouts.

In effect, default design systems ensure performance and affordance.

However, customisation of these design systems are on the rise. While popular apps like Whatsapp, FB, Twitter prefer nativity with minor customisations, many apps such as UberAirbnbIBM, Snapchat, iOS Music have taken a more liberal approach. Uber’s bottom sheet in fact was an influential success. Accordingly, Material and iOS have also updated their systems to be more flexible instead of being prescriptive.

Even amongst smaller startups, design systems are becoming a norm as it complements the contemporary org structure with a centralised design infra team and a pod based product-design resource allocation.

2019 will see:

  1. Larger adoption of design systems amongst companies.
  2. Liberal customisation of design systems as companies target new geographies where users have less exposure to default systems.