Trends of 2022, or What awaits businesses in the near future

At the beginning of 2022, everyone wants to look behind the curtain of time and find out what awaits us this year. Of course, we strive to anticipate events and trends and be the first to implement them. Unfortunately, even artificial intelligence cannot foresee everything, and therefore listening to each other, observing behavior of consumers and competitors, making hypotheses and analyzing conclusions all remain integral parts of the business so as not to be afraid and to act.

In this article, we have collected the most discussed “The Day after Tomorrow” trends that will have the greatest impact on the behavior of consumers, companies and humanity in general.

In early spring 2020, our daily routine changed its face. We were forced to give up live meetings and travel, office work and habitual hobbies and had to adapt to new conditions and develop new habits. Two years ago, we literally found ourselves in a COVID time machine, which, despite disappointing trends and consequences, accelerated the development of humanity and technology. It somehow took us to 2026-2028, and we naturally began to move faster, without stopping at unusual, new stages.

Modern time travel

Over the past two years, we have become significantly different: we have got accustomed to delivery services and sanitizers in our pockets, protective masks and contactless payments, to remote work and online meetings. The virus has become not only a limitation, but also a new opportunity, a new challenge to be more organized, adaptive, and digitalized. Perhaps we got much more than we think.

After all, right now we continue to form new habits that we might not have thought about before. For example, how to say hello when meeting a person: hug, shake hands, bump fists, or just smile? There is no definitive answer to this question. Because right now we are in the “window of opportunity” when the world creates its new routine. And the one who will introduce new habits into our everyday life will be the winner.

New reality = New habits

Let’s start with a common example: imagine how you would have reacted to an online meeting with colleagues 4-5 years ago? At the very least, you would raise an eyebrow and be surprised, because it is important to be with a person in the same room for negotiations, to see them live because: “It is better to resolve all issues personally, what video communication are you talking about?”.

Two years ago, we were forced to switch to a new format of meetings, because there was no choice and we had to adapt. Then we remembered about Microsoft Teams, which has become a must have of our time. Subsequently, it turned out that contacting colleagues in the application is much more convenient and faster than going to the office or coworking space.

And since we are lazy creatures, we will never return to the life that was before. We’d rather save our energy for something more substantial, which will require higher productivity, and higher priority tasks. This is how we learned to solve important issues without travel and planes, learn and work without physical presence.

In the new worldview paradigm, consumers want companies to make their life easier, so businesses are forced to read their customers as quickly and as accurately as possible. In this way, a world-famous American supermarket chain Walmart discovered that most customers who order online are not comfortable getting out of the car and going to the store for packed groceries. So here’s what they did: a customer drives up to a special zone in the parking lot, enters their order number, waits for it to be put in the trunk, and heads home happy. But they didn’t stop there: Walmart customers also have the option of ordering grocery delivery straight to the fridge. The mechanism is as follows: you place an order, they collect it, the courier delivers to your address, opens the doors and puts the food in the refrigerator. The entire process of order fulfillment can be tracked in real time through the app. If you do not want a stranger to enter your home, the courier can leave food under the door or on the porch.

Grocery delivery from Walmart to the trunk of your car.

Example 2: When COVID-19 began to spread rapidly around the world, doctors, like all other workers, were deprived of the opportunity to massively share knowledge at the international level. Thus, the pharmaceutical company YURiA PHARM, which had been a co-organizer of the Medical Congress for several years in a row, decided to switch the event to online. Using the modern Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform and services integrated with it, the organizers managed to gather about 30,000 participants from 20 countries on the online platform. Thanks to this solution, doctors were able to support each other, share knowledge and best treatment practices during the course of the virus.

This is how events for 30,000 people look.

Can these cases be considered successful? Certainly. After all, the business was able to quickly respond, meet market requirements, and therefore not lose its position and level of trust. Therefore, consumers will form new habits with the support of these very client-centric companies.

Convenience and cost-efficiency as main trends

The way consumers have become digitally tolerant has also changed. For example, a mobile application is doomed if it is incomprehensible and inconvenient for a user, because people are not ready to waste their time on the manufacturer’s digital incompetence. According to statistics from the German company Statista, most users delete a newly installed application after the first day of use if it is inconvenient, not intuitive or not user-friendly.

Statistics from the German company Statista.

The ease of use has also become a commodity. And if today a customer is ready to make a choice in favor of purchases that fully cover their needs, convenience becomes another “good” on the counter.

It should be remembered that today time is a valuable and limited resource for everyone. If a business helps its customers save it and effectively meet the target need, it will definitely get loyal customers and new brand ambassadors for a long time.

But we should not forget about other extremely important and often limited resources: energy and money. There are almost no people in the world who have enough of each of the three elements: something will always be missing. As the famous saying goes, when you are young you have a lot of time and energy, but no money. When you get older, you have money and energy, but not enough time. When you reach a certain age, you have money and time, but not enough energy. So, it is worth thinking about what kind of company you want to be. By prioritizing correctly, you can create a real advantage for your users.

Remember: your customer is a person just like you. With their feelings, needs, problems and life. That is why it is important to support your consumers in different periods of time and build partnerships that can later form the “partner journey” philosophy. Strive to turn a customer into a partner and make positive changes in their life. The faster you learn to understand them, the happier you can make them. Become empaths because empathy is the skill of the future that is needed today.

In the era of robotization, humanity is what the society will be lacking. Use this “transition” period as an opportunity to build new customer relationships faster than others can.

Robotization: what’s in it for us

The process of robotization is already taking place today. According to the research of the World Bank, more than 60% of professions in Ukraine will disappear and will be subject to automation. This is a long process that requires investment and time, but it is inevitable.

Already, we are seeing how logistics companies are installing parcel lockers to send and receive parcels, how more and more supermarkets are equipping self-service checkouts, and even the first autonomous store without sellers and cashiers has appeared.

However, there are still areas where people do better than machines. It is about creativity and a curious mind, because machines will not be able to perform creative tasks. Therefore, the main skill of the future is creativity, which must be levelled up and constantly developed in order to meet the requirements of the future.

To sum it up, we recommend not being afraid to introduce new solutions in your company and strive to keep up with the latest market trends. Follow the activities of competitors in order not to stand aside and be the first in building new solutions.

Pay attention to companies that have already formed their brand code and built trust with customers, as they have a double responsibility: they are already trusted by users, and in such businesses the cost of a mistake can be too high.

Therefore, we recommend that you properly form the DNA culture in the company, test future changes only with loyal customers. And if you have just started developing and forming your own brand code and have a technological or creative potential, test collaborations and a partner approach to solving challenges. After all, customers always appreciate the maximum involvement in their needs and are ready to accept non-ideality, receiving a prompt solution of the issue and willingness to help.

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