What a year it’s been.

Thankfully for many, 2020 will soon be a distant memory, although there are going to be more huge challenges for businesses in 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic will not just disappear into thin air because of the vaccine, and the way we live and conduct our daily lives is unlikely to change much until we are deeper into the new year.

Unfortunately, many businesses won’t have survived the current year and for any number of reasons related to Covid-19. However, there are still deals to be done, partnerships to be made and companies to be steered though the still stormy waters.

The future as always offers hope, and here at WGP Global we continue to remain positive. As we transition from one year to the next, let’s take a look at our top five expected business trends for 2021.

Automation

We’ve already seen companies looking into the ways in which automation can not only save their businesses money, but streamline their services. Whilst it’s ostensibly true that a human can’t be replaced for certain tasks, as technology becomes more and more sophisticated, there becomes a clear business need for automation to become part of various processes.

We are at the point already whereby if humans don’t add value to a business any longer, automation quickly becomes a consideration to able to take on the role. Chatbots on websites that deal with customer service enquiries and autonomous vehicles are just two examples of businesses moving in the direction of having automation fulfil certain key tasks.

In 2021, WGP Global expect the trend to continue on an upward trajectory. Automated interfaces that are able to interact and connect with real humans will save time, and therefore, cost. Implementation across all types of company, including white-collar jobs, will soon be seen as standard practice.

Decentralised Finance

Blockchain has still to really capture the imagination of the masses, but in 2021, WGP Global believe it’s set to play a huge part in business. It’s our contention that raising capital in this manner, or via other decentralised options, will be easier than through what would normally be classed as the traditional channels.

The main reason for this school of thought is that the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak economical havoc, and as a result, the capital markets are still nervous.

Against that backdrop, it will become difficult for companies to raise capital in the usual manner.

Virtual Interfaces

Another piece of tech that can already be found at certain businesses is the ‘virtual interface.’

Covid-19 has again played a huge part in the acceleration of having to roll out this type of technology, as it has forced many consumers to stay indoors for fear of exposing themselves to the virus if they venture outside.

Companies such as ‘Specsavers’ have made use of smart phone cameras or webcams by using augmented reality to show customers what they would look like in a certain pair of glasses.

It negates the need to enter the store until such time as the glasses are to be picked up. Similarly, we are seeing a rise in virtual avatars, which work in much the same way as augmented reality in the sense that one can see what they will look like in certain clothes or make-up etc.

An entire ordering process, without the need for human intervention at any point, is likely to become standard practice well before the end of 2021 in our opinion.

Social Engagement

If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught everyone, particularly those in business, it is that the power of social media, when harnessed correctly, can have unbelievable reach amongst current and potential clients.

More than ever, companies are relying on their social accounts to come up with content that is relevant and engaging. If there’s a trend that will come out of the social sphere in the new year, it will be one that is geared towards companies having an authentic presence on social that matches their brand online.

Too many companies (and individuals) try far too hard to ‘make it work,’ and they’re left with profiles that lack personality and awareness of what clients and customers want to see.

Real person introductions, conversations with industry heavyweights and a ‘trip down memory lane’ to understand the history of a company are just three basic concepts to spark interaction and conversation.

Sustainability

Many companies have looked to reduce their carbon footprint as a start point over the last couple of years, but sustainability isn’t just about ticking the environmental box.

There is a need to take a step back and really think about the way a company operates, what waste it produces, how their products are used (if applicable) etc.

Landfill sites are multiplying and the sites themselves are getting larger, and the need to build a sustainable future was evident well before the world had heard of the coronavirus pandemic.

That has brought things into an even sharper focus and 2021 will be the year when companies finally start to take the impact their work has on the environment seriously.

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