The internet has demonstrated near exponential growth because businesses of all kinds have embraced its capabilities. Sophisticated software tools have fueled steady growth in the varieties of available functionality. An emerging trend in increasingly personalized interactions with prospective customers is trending upward. Automation and feature-rich software capabilities put ever more complex tools at the disposal of companies and customers alike.
One company that sells custom bathroom showers is a good example. They empower their customers with online tools that allow them to design their own smart shower system. Previously, this would have been cost-prohibitive and difficult to achieve profitably. By leveraging technology, the company can reduce labor expenses, speed up the sales cycle, and give customers a delightful sense of ownership. Even further, appealing to customers with “do it yourself” skills and ambitions they offer to build your own steam room packages.
This is one example of a growing trend among tech-savvy customers and companies that maximize their technological resources. These emerging business models allow some interesting speculation about longer-term outcomes. Some possible future developments include reductions in specific job roles, shifts in demand for workers with different skill sets, and increasing virtualization of product offerings to customers.
Workforce Reductions in Specific Occupations
The history of industrialization, beginning with the introduction of the steam engine, is replete with worker displacements as machines replaced human labor. Computer technologies are encroaching on occupations that previously required a human’s skills and dexterity. Disruptive technologies often herald a declining demand for specific human skills.
Shifts in Demand for Specific Skill Sets
Reductions in labor demand due to technological advances are often off-set by new demand for different types of labor elsewhere. One classic example of this principle can be seen in early industrialization. When automotive transportation began displacing demand for horses, many blacksmiths who supplied horseshoes experienced a huge loss in demand for their skills. Subsequent new occupations in the automotive manufacturing industry soon far outpaced the loss of horse related occupations. Today’s high demand for computer programming and maintenance skills reflects a similar trend.
Increasing Virtualization of Product Offerings
Virtual reality technologies, now making their debut in the gaming industry, will likely invade commerce as well. Forward-thinking companies are exploring this possibility now. Providing customers an experience with products that is indistinguishable from reality, is a powerful marketing and sales opportunity.
The degree of complex functionality enabled by technology today is allowing businesses to explore new territory in interactions with their customers. Companies that leverage this emerging trend stand to capture market share by appealing to increasingly tech-savvy customers. New business models are becoming a possibility and demand for improved shopping experiences is supporting this growing trend.