If you don’t think digital is creating exponential leaps for businesses of all sizes, think again. Just see some of these amazing digital facts that SAP’s Dan Wellers pointed out in a recent Forbes column.
This year Airbnb will become the largest hotel chain in the world, with more than 850,000 rooms, and without owning any hotels. In 2000, it took $5,000,000 (£3,284,298.80) to launch an Internet startup. Today the cost is less than $5,000. (£3,284.30)
Even a decade ago, if we told you the largest hotel chain of 2015 wouldn’t own any brick and mortar locations, you’d think we were losing our minds entirely. Digital technologies are not only growing at an exponential rate, but they’re making previously unattainable opportunities more accessible than ever before. Things that were out of reach for SMEs just a few years ago are now attainable and affordable – making expansion a very realistic option.
Zubin Mowlavi, the CEO of Lucid Fusion, explained why he felt 2015 was “the year” for UK businesses to put US expansion in motion.
Unsurprisingly, most of his logic was based on digital advancement. Let’s take a closer look at a few reasons to bring your business to US shores:
(1) Mobile and online sales soar
Advertising is a great way to get eyeballs on your company, but the ultimate goal is to close the sale. Depending on your product or service, you can enter the US market with little or no sales team by selling online.
According to a 2014-2015 independent study by the Centre for Retail Research, the US is a prime market for online and mobile retail, with online sales in the US expected to reach $306bn (£201.15bn) in 2014 – vastly exceeding the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Poland, and Spain’s expected combined total of £111.2bn (£73.10bn) for the same period! Additionally, mobile shopping is expected to represent 19.9 per cent of online retail in the US. With this heightened appetite for online sales, the US serves as a great market to enter without requiring the commitment and associated costs of a physical footprint.
(2) Availability of data diminishes distance
Whether it’s researching prospective customers, pricing, market size, or the competition, there’s a lot of information that is required to make the leap to launching or advancing a company in a new market. Big data is getting bigger. Never before have we had so much information readily available to us at our fingertips.
With a prevalence of data and studies available immediately online, companies can quickly and effectively answer key questions about the market ecosystem without having to physically interview people or conduct studies. This data is instantly available not only to reference, but also to test and validate against your particular company’s offerings. With platforms like Google Adwords, you can easily identify the best consumer for your product or service.
(3) Social media drives US markets
Social media now matters more than ever, and that’s great news for companies who want to expand virtually. With Americans spending more time on social networks than any other activity, and 93 per cent of businesses and marketers using social media, brands now have the ability to reach out to customers directly through these channels to stay at the top of their field.
It is no longer a question of “if” social media can help boost a brand’s visibility and ROI, but now, “what hashtag will generate the most engagement?” and “how long will it take to get verified?” 2015 has already brought great export opportunities in digital technology that will make it much easier for mid-market UK businesses to export to the US and beyond.
The increasing popularity of mobile tech, social media, and ecommerce marketing represents a shift in how all businesses reach customers and make sales.
Ben Fried is chief technology officer at Lucid Fusion.
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