Future Shock: Tomorrow Is Almost Here
The term information overload was coined by future-ologist, Alvin Toffler (1928 – 2016), and was first used in his best seller, Future Shock, originally released in 1970.
Toffler argued that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a “super-industrial society”. This change overwhelms people. He believed the accelerated rate of technological and social change left people disconnected and suffering from “shattering stress and disorientation” wikipedia
I would not presume to say that this is entirely the cause for the present upheavals in our society but there can be no doubt that it’s playing a significant, probably major part. Without meaning to be a Negative Nelly, it’s my sincere belief that in the next few years, many businesses – particularly small businesses – will be left behind if they don’t act decisively and embrace e-commerce. In particular:
- With only a few exceptions, your business needs to be on the internet and have a website or at least a presence, of some kind
- If you have goods and services for sale, they need to be categorized so that your customers can find them, easily. The most cost-effective way for that to occur in the long run is to make your site, all its text & descriptions Search-Engine friendly
- You should also be aware that websites are changing – they are no longer merely websites. They are – increasingly – the hubs for the online component of your business,
While that may sound like flowery Sales talk, designed to bamboozle you, I ask you to ponder what’s happening, right now!
How Google My Business Will Change Online Business
Google is ubiquitous – they are everywhere:
- in the USA, they have 75% of Search traffic
- in the UK, 85%
- in Australia, it’s 95%
and they want more.
Lately, Google has been developing a short-hand version of all business websites, called its Google My Business listings (do consider checking out the link – we go into the topic in some detail). You can see these listings in a box consisting of between 2 to 7 websites, on virtually any search that for a Local Business. Look closely and you’ll notice that there are usually 1-5 little stars next to the website’s domain names, denoting their average rating from reviews given to them by Google users. If your business happens to be lucky enough to be in the box and has a number of good reviews, the net effect is they are probably functioning act as a very powerful pre-sell.
[Oh, how do you get in that box? Well, Search Engine Optimization & our other services are a pretty good start!]
So, if a Google user (i.e. your potential customer) decides to investigate your well-starred site further and actually clicks into your listing, they can:
- check out those reviews, individually or
- peruse any media that you may have posted in Google My Business, such as pictures of your business, perhaps an introductory “Hello” video from you or even video testimonials from your happy customers and of course
- click thru to your website
But what’s appearing on the horizon is even more of a game changer. Google My Business is also trialing the integration of FREE LIVE Chat and if they add – as expected – a video component [perhaps an adaptation of Google Hangouts (duration 0.35)], Google users will then be expecting to be able to communicate directly with you or a designated member of staff during business hours via video phone.
Far from making your site less important, your sales staff of the future will direct your new potential customers to well-written, interesting web pages, which will probably often be enhanced with semi-PRO HOW-TO or Explainer videos (housed on Google-owned Youtube and embedded on your site for FREE ). As online & offline marketing inevitably merge, media-rich pages will become the new norm.
[Tip: Good writers, Low-budget video-makers, DIY animation & voice-over artists are about to enter a boom!]
Google isn’t providing these tools to be nice guys – their intention is to simply make FREE Google tools, the way people do business online, much like the way that a generation – perhaps two – accept Google Maps as the definitive way to find directions. In doing so, it will be up to small businesses to keep up with these advances and then stay in the game. The easiest way to begin that process is ensure that all your new media is created as Search Engine-friendly data.
Because something even bigger is on the horizon.
The Next Future Shock: Virtual Reality
When your products and product descriptions are optimized for Search Engine traffic, the protocols involved follow a very logical, categorized process. I have no doubt that such systemized presentation of data will become best practice for the next major Future Shock, Virtual Reality. ShelfZone, from Italian start-up, Invrsion, is a retail space simulator, capable of reproducing shops, supermarkets and even malls in Virtual Reality. This is what shopping will be like in the very near future (duration 2.40).
Moving beyond the WOW factor, the practicalities of such technology is that each of the items in the store will have been itemized, connected to FURTHER INFO data, warranties etc. and that categorization of data will undoubtedly be very similar to what a good SEO company should already be ensuring.
My guess is that Google will acquire Invrsion (or something similar) and that if there is a new web language needed for products, whatever it is, it will have a seamless integration with good SEO-d data. Why?
Because it’s in Google’s interest to make it so! e.g I’ll bet that those friends you see popping up at 1.39 in the video, will, in time, be friends that are Google users. Google might also integrate the Amazon “people who liked that also like this” model but instead, illustrate it with other products that your friends have purchased – perhaps connected to their Google reviews.
NOTE: Chinese e-commerce powerhouse, Alibaba is developing a conceptually, very different Virtual Reality system. The following video, for Gnome Magic Lab (1.47), provides a glimpse into their Virtual Reality future, this time, enabling users to step outside of the limitations of only one site and instead, go on a shopping spree, visiting different stores, in different locations, anywhere in the world.
But What Will This Brave New World Of Marketing Cost?
If you become our customer, and build (or rebuild) your site with WordPress – you are already stepping into that future. WordPress is continually updating its core technical capabilities and it’s my belief that long before Virtual Reality becomes the norm, your website will have the technical capabilities of delivering it, probably at the price of normal web hosting. You may need a premium plug-in for deluxe functionality but that seldom presently goes beyond $97. With very specialized add-ons, my guess is that super-duper Rolls Royce functionality might be $500 with perhaps a recurring small cost for updates.
Of course, I can’t guarantee that, but with WordPress’ parent company valued at $1.16 billion in 2014 (and probably more, now), the FREE WordPress + PAID add-ons appears to be very lucrative and I can’t see why they would change that model.
Well, there you have it – I believe that the future is calling and calling loudly. The first step is to Get Your Website Found and then, hang on for the ride.