2017 will be a challenging year for SMEs in Singapore, with a continued economic downturn. But, this year will be filled with opportunities for companies who are willing to embrace change, and more importantly, technology. At Axxis Consulting, we did some research and identified 3 key trends that you should keep in mind when planning for the coming year.
1. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will Bring Significant Advances
The First Industrial Revolution mechanized production, the Second used electricity to produce goods on a massive scale, and the Third used electronics and IT to automate processes. Now, we are on the brink of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between physical and digital.
While we’ve been hearing about things like drones, artificial intelligence, and self driving cars for quite some time now, we can expect them to become a reality in 2017. Since Singapore is a global leader in digital technology, we’ll be lucky enough to experience many of these advances before most other countries. You can already hail a self-driving cab, NUS and NTU have become leaders in the world of artificial intelligence, and Foodpanda has already developed a plan to start deliveries with drones.
Even though many companies might think they are immune from this revolution, 2017 will bring an unprecedented amount of disruption. Artificial intelligence is expected to become adopted in a wide range of industries, including media, advertising, retail, finance and healthcare. These advances will bring challenges, but also a great deal of opportunities for those who are able to foresee potential and harness the right technologies.
Thankfully, we are probably still a long ways away from being replaced by robots. But , be sure to stay up to date and keep an eye out for any new technologies that could give your SME a competitive advantage.
2. Customers will Demand Better Experiences
Amazon has now found a way to create a flawless shopping experience.
According to Forrester’s 2017 Predictions, “today’s customers reward or punish companies based on a single experience — a single moment in time”. Customers who experience negative emotions during an interaction are now about eight times more likely not to forgive that company.
Since companies are now required to deliver experiences across a wide range of digital channels that they may not be familiar with, ensuring a positive and consistent customer experience is becoming increasingly challenging, and the stakes have become higher than ever. Technology has made it much easier for your customers to find and deal with your competitors if they are unsatisfied. 40% of consumers now have what was previously known as the “millenial” mindest, with a high willingness and ability to shift spend, while an additional 25% of consumers are building that mindset.
It is becoming essential to reach out to consumers in the right ways, at the right times. In recent years, technology has revolutionized the way businesses interact with and deliver experiences to their customers, with companies like Uber and Airbnb disrupting entire industries. These two companies are perfect examples of how delivering the right customer experience through technology can lead to growth. With Singapore acting as a hub for innovative tech startups, we can expect a great deal of disruption in the coming year.
To avoid disruption, as the year progresses, make sure that you don’t just maintain the status quo. Find ways to proactively improve the customer experience. For more information have a look at “4 Reasons the Customer Experience is Essential to your Business [Infographic]“.
3. Competition will Increase
Global competition is heating up, and according to Forrester 2017 will mark a 25% to 50% increase in revenue risk as more customers operate as free agents. Forrester predicts that even entrenched industries using contracts to secure customers (such as cable companies and telcos) will feel increased competition as up and coming companies are expected to steal customers from the more established ones. Driving this trend will be the customer’s desire for the best experience.
Revenue risk will serve as a wake-up call for companies to accelerate their customer experience initiatives. In order to deal with this risk, companies will need to find ways to differentiate, primarily with technology, to deliver a positive customer experience. Companies will need to deliver a seamless omni-channel experience across all interaction channels with software solutions like SAP Cloud for Customer.
This increase in competition will be magnified in Singapore, as the nation faces a cyclical economic downturn that is not expected to improve much throughout 2017. Demand is expected to remain uneven across key export markets, and this will be further compounded by Singapore’s high exposure to sectors which have been faring especially badly, such as oil and gas, semiconductors and transport services. Business sentiment is expected to remain negative, especially for SMEs, as all of these factors contribute to a more competitive landscape.