In business, it is always vital to be abreast with prevailing business trends of the day. This will best inform you of things you should be wary of and subsequent business strategies to use. Presently the world is highly segmented regarding the status quo. There are parts of the world where things have largely gone back to ‘normal. In the US, there are states where it is no longer mandatory to wear face masks. In Zimbabwe, things have largely gone back to normal with wearing masks now more like a formality. However, in other parts of the world such as India and Nepal, the number of COVID-19 cases is surging out of control. Anyways, let us look at some of the latest global business trends.

Customer Sentiments Towards Digital Tech

Some studies have been conducted to figure how customers’ sentiments towards digital tech have shifted. This has largely been necessitated by the pandemic which is why studying that is crucial. One particular study by Deloitte and Deloitte Consulting revealed the customer appreciation of digital tech has surged by over 65 per cent due to the pandemic. The same study also revealed that the likelihood of customers using digital tech, even after the pandemic, will be over 60 per cent. This buttresses something I have always emphasised that businesses must lean more towards running their enterprises online using digital tech.

Gaining The Trust Of Your Customers And Employees Has Become Multifaceted

This is one of the most interesting dynamics that have mostly been influenced by the pandemic. Trust, in its most generic sense, simply looks at how a business keeps its word regarding what it is selling. Well, that used to be the case but now it goes way beyond that. Several aspects now inform the extent to which customers will trust your brand. 4 core facets now inform the trust element when it comes to your brand.

One, both customers and employees now prefer associating themselves with a brand that genuinely values the humanity of people. Two, people now lean more towards transparent brands. By transparent I am referring to openly availing information, openly explaining strategic decisions or policy shifts, and actively involving both customers and employees in these aspects.

Three, people now gravitate more towards brands that show that they are capable. This is shown in how a brand delivers any promise it makes; be it to customers or employees. Then lastly there is the issue of reliability which is exhibited through consistent delivery of made promises. This goes a long way in cultivating positive social proofs for your brand. Thus how reliable a brand is matters now more than ever before. As a brand, you must now pay more attention to these 4 metrics especially given that there is tough competition online.

The Phygital Hybrid – Your Business Now Needs One

‘Phygital’ there simply means Physical and Digital. I alluded earlier to the fact that some regions are somewhat back to normal whereas some are not. Whichever the case businesses must appreciate that there are now two broad clusters of customers. One, those who still prefer to buy stuff online and get them delivered to their homes. Two, those who prefer to visit brick and mortar facilities to buy things in person. Those two types of customers can occasionally switch to the other side as and when needs be. Thus your business must be in a position to adequately cater for both customers at any given point. Any business that wishes to stay afloat and remain competitive now must use a phygital approach in their service delivery.

Customers Now Obsessed With Frugality

The pandemic brought in economic uncertainty which cost many people a lot. Even now with relative normalcy in most parts of the world, most people are still cautious. This means customers have increasingly become frugal, more than ever before. This means as a business you must figure out ways to provide quality goods and services but at cheaper prices. It really boils down to seeing how best you can play around your economies of scale. Generally, customers are now more particular about eating and living healthy. They are also now more particular about value addition when it comes to what you sell.

This is all influenced by how customers wish to spend less due to low incomes or economic uncertainties. If you find ways to cater for such customers you will realize huge customer inflows. The overall idea will be to push volumes and that can be achieved by tweaking pricing or payment terms, amongst others. Point of caution here: do not compromise on quality, please! That is one of the biggest problems currently affecting most local Zimbabwean brands; they are seriously compromising on quality.

Cross-Industry Collaboration

I briefly mentioned the issue of economies of scale. One of the best ways to achieve economies of scale for your business is to collaborate with other brands. It can be branded within the same industry or from other industries. More and more brands are exploring this route because they are realizing it is unlocking more value and reducing operating costs. It is also making it easy in some cases to access new customer pools. For instance, food outlets such as eateries or restaurants can collaborate with supermarkets. In fact, in Zimbabwe, we have seen several collaborations happening between couriers or deliveries service startups partnering with restaurants and even supermarkets. This trend is essential to even the resuscitation of some business that had dwindled.

So these are 5 of some of the latest global business trends that you should pay attention to. They are as relevant to the Zimbabwean context as they are anywhere else in the world.