Top 6 Online Trends to Watch for in 2012

Online Trends – The world of the web is constantly changing – is your business keeping up? From eCommerce to social media, the web has dramatically changed the way corporations and small businesses find prospects, pitch to potential customers, and sell their products and services. And those interactions become more futuristic with each passing year!

What kinds of changes can you expect to impact your business in 2012? Here are just some of the trends, shifts, and strategies we expect to see in action this year:

1. Bargains, Specials, Discounts, and Loyalty Rewards

With the economy still recovering and millions of people unemployed, you can expect your customers to be taking the time to bargain-hunt and research the competition. Online bargains, specials, and loyalty programs may make the difference between businesses that succeed in 2012, and those that die trying.

2. Mobile Marketing

Many businesses have already taken a step into the future, with promotional offers sent directly to customers’ phones via SMS. This year, we also expect to see expansion in mobile “pull” marketing for cell phones, smart phones, and tablets. As people switch to newer devices and neglect the old desktop PC, innovative mobile marketing is a must to draw in clients with interactive pitches that nudge them toward purchase decisions.

3. Social Media Trust Circles

In the past six months, we’ve seen a growing trend toward business owners forming networks through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn with other professionals in their field – or providing related services. Just as your tire shop may refer you to an auto body shop and vice versa, these online masters of social media are providing recommendations, referrals, and testimonials for one another’s businesses, a circle of support that helps prospective clients trust them – crucial in online marketing – and brings everyone more business.

4. Personalisation and Customisation

Businesses that serve the specific needs oftheir customers have always thrived. In today’s online market, that means companieswith user-friendly websites and marketing strategies that are preciselytargeted to match their customers’ wants, needs, and behaviors will far surpassthose that are still relying on stagnant, disconnected sites and emails that dolittle for their business.

5. Real-Time Response

As the pace of the web grows ever more rapid, real-time responses to customers’ questions and needs are ever more important. This has caused a proliferation of new communication technologies, from fast-paced social media to live chat on eCommerce websites. It also means that the days of products going “out of order” indefinitely, or of slow updates to service offerings and product catalogues, are a thing of the past for businesses that want to succeed in this fast-paced market.

6. The Everywhere of Modern Business

Twenty years ago, you had to go to a store – or at least pick up the phone – to make a purchase. Then commerce moved online… and then online went everywhere! With smart phones and WiFi, it’s possible to make a big-ticket purchase from the office, an airplane, or the park—and customers are buying the things that matter to them from anywhere and everywhere. That trend will only grow in 2012 as we become more accustomed to the constant availability of purchasing opportunities and as mobile marketing expands and grows.

What do you think of our 2012 trends list? Have we missed something important? Contact us to discuss how any of these trends will affect your business or to learn more about mobile marketing, customer surveys, and other tools you can use to ride the trends and steer for success in 2012.

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