Tech disruption is real, but the very best businesses are evolving to keep up with the times.
Here, we share eight examples of industries that have adapted to the internet age.
Gone are the days when your only option for a holiday was Teletext or a high street travel agency. The internet has made it easier than ever to research, compare and book trips, mixing and matching flights, accommodation and itinerary to suit personal preferences and budget.
What’s more, the rise of the sharing economy has made it simpler and safer to rent lodging, swap currency and take tours with locals.
Subscription boxes, next-day delivery and easy returns have completely revolutionised shopping. 20% of all purchases are now made online, and a growing proportion of businesses are eschewing the high street and stockists completely to sell direct to consumers.
Virtual fitting room technology is in its early stages, and larger retailers are beginning to offer image recognition search so you can identify and buy specific pieces in a snap.
On the other end of the scale, independent creatives have a bigger platform than ever before. Many fashion designers are opting for a ‘see now, buy now’ model in place of the traditional two seasons. Others still are bypassing stockists and selling direct to consumers at a more affordable price.
Streaming has become de rigeur, with consumers opting for on-demand services over physical media and live broadcast content.
Last summer Ofcom reported that streaming services had overtaken paid television, with 39% of British households subscribing to at least one service.
The benefits are clear: streaming offers a huge variety at a low cost without taking up valuable physical space. Smaller names have a better chance than ever of being picked up and can release topical content while it’s still relevant.
Digital formats also offer more scope for creativity; for example, sci-fi favourite Black Mirror pushed the limits of traditional television with its interactive, choose-your-own-story episode Bandersnatch last December.
It’s estimated that 11% of all web traffic comes from online casino players. Online gambling is private, convenient and accessible from anywhere that has signal, so it’s unsurprising that the British online gambling industry alone is worth £5.4 billion. Without the physical restraints of land-based casinos, operators can offer bigger jackpots on hundreds of games, any hour of the day (source: Casino Market).
Between Slack, Zendesk and Discord, almost everything can be handled over instant messaging now – and that’s great news for customers and businesses alike.
While landlines will be around for some time yet, web-based communication is simple, accessible and helps to cut down on miscommunication. It’s also possible to run multiple chats at the same time, making it an attractive option for smaller businesses without dedicated call centres.
Digital banks were just the beginning; robo-advisers can now handle your investments and pension for you, while accounting sites make business and personal finance a snap. Unlike human advisers, online financial services can be accessed at any time and are often free, so everyone can make their money work harder (source: Proper Finance).
The internet was designed for educational use, and its capacity for text, images, video and animation makes it possible to teach everything from astrophysics to weaving.
Free courses and on-demand content mean that there are fewer obstacles to learning than ever before, and many institutions offer professional qualifications at an affordable price.
The rise of the paperless home has placed more value on what we actually do print.
Beautifully designed photobooks and archive-quality prints are an affordable luxury that will never become obsolete, and small-run publishers make it easy to get your writing on the shelf.
It’s not just paper, either: platforms like Society6 can print art onto almost anything, including furniture.