2019 promises another year of uncertain economies and technological advancements. The following are some of the expected events and trends to have the biggest impact.
11pm GMT March 29th 2019 is the date when the UK is set to leave the European Union. This is potentially the most impactful event that will take place in 2019.
The fallout from BREXIT is very difficult to predict and a lot depends on the exit deal the UK agrees with the European Union and the trade agreements that are nurtured with both European companies and potential new trade partners from further afield.
2. Increase in the gig economy
Despite the uncertainty within the freelance and contract market that is stoked by IR35 tax reform and the freedom of movement debate due to BREXIT, the gig economy continues to thrive and will continue to grow and add value to the UK economy in 2019.
Freelance and contract workers add value to businesses by providing services on an ad-hoc basis as and when you need them.
If you need something complex for your business that is beyond the skills set of your current staff, you can be there’s a freelancer out there who can deliver what you need.
With more people than ever going freelance, it’s important they make sure they have the right level of freelancer insurance or professional indemnity insurance before they take the plunge and start out on their own.
3. AI (Artificial Intelligence)
AI has been adopted by most of the world’s top companies in some shape or form. Those who haven’t fully adopted AI have been testing it throughout 2018.
You will most likely have encountered AI at some point online. Usually in the form of a live-chat programme on a website.
AI will become more prevalent and soon users won’t be able to tell if they are interacting with a bot or a real person.
Voice search has gained traction over the past couple of years with the success of Siri, Alexa, Echo and Google Home etc.
The rise in voice activated search has meant a whole new ball game for website managers and SEOs. Websites that rank at No1 in Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) can rank much lower for certain voice searches.
The convenience of it for the user is invaluable because voice search on a mobile is so much quicker than typing in what you’re looking for.
5. Marketing personalisation.
Email personalisation is already widely used by savvy marketers and business people. Yet still it is common to receive an email which starts with ‘Dear customer’ or ‘Dear user’.
According to Marketo, personalisation of emails leads to an increase of both open rates and click-through rates. With personalisation you immediately create a connection with the recipient of your email, which gives you a greater chance of them wanting to read what you’ve sent to them.
Tweets and posts on Facebook and Instagram will no longer be enough for many businesses. Users are already preferring live interactions over social interactions. Facebook live video streaming has already seen massive success. With live interactions you can bring your audience into the room with you.
6. Cyber vulnerability will continue to be tested
Nothing new from the last couple of years, but faceless online crime will continue to test the resilience and vulnerability of the UK’s businesses.
Large or small, if you operate online, whether it be via an e-Commerce trading platform or simply by email it is likely you will be ‘cyber challenged’ at some point.
It’s a good idea to review and renew your firewalls and security on a regular basis and also look at your cyber insurance and crime insurance policies.