The internet is an inextricable part of our daily lives – and a resource that many of us take for granted as a result. Having the world at our fingertips has utterly changed the way we engage with one another. The business landscape of today is unrecognizable in comparison to that of yesteryear; what follows are the key ways in which the evolution of the internet has itself evolved the American business.
Interconnectivity and Intercommunication
The internet has heralded a new age of interconnectivity; spools upon spools of coaxial cables connect businesses and domestic homes alike to the internet, enabling instantaneous communication between one another in a way unprecedented by the early days of the telephone. This instant access to one another has enabled commerce to evolve, as customer questions can be answered immediately – and customer feedback implemented immediately.
The speed with which businesses can communicate has also had an extremely positive impact on partnership and collaboration. International partnerships are made possible by emails and video conferencing, enabling businesses to work on a much wider scope. Not only does this afford smaller independent businesses more opportunities for growth, but it also drives innovation – providing better products for consumers overall.
The internet has also changed the face of marketing, as new platforms engender innovative methods of advertising. Smaller businesses can reach a wider audience via online ads through social media platforms or pay-per-click ad runs, while accounts on social media platforms can appeal more directly to existing and engaged customers.
The humble email is decades-old at this point, having preceded the internet as we know it today by some time – but it was also the harbinger of change in business marketing strategy. It remains to this day the single most effective online marketing strategy in terms of return on investment, with an ROI of 4,200%.
The internet has revolutionized how consumers interact with businesses. E-commerce platforms enable transactions to take place entirely online, a practice with which the modern consumer is by now intimately familiar. Marketplace giant Amazon was a trailblazer that set the stage for modern e-commerce, driving a new appetite for online shopping – and new technology to facilitate it.
New capabilities for online shopping have drastically reduced overheads for businesses which no longer need a commercial premise. They have also created new opportunities for emerging businesses with little in the way of capital. Drop-shipping has become a powerful way for entrepreneurs to meet consumer demand without the troublesome logistics of managing warehouses and deliveries.
New Risks for a New Era
This new era of commerce is not without its difficulties. Cybercrime is on the rise, as hackers and fraudsters target individuals and businesses alike for valuable data – which can be used to access bank accounts or sold to scammers. According to the FBI, cybercrime caused over $4 billion in business losses in 2020 alone – with $1.8 billion of that figure attributed to business email compromise (BEC). But despite the new challenges brought about by the prevalence of the internet, the positives outweigh the negatives for both consumers and businesses.