Importance Of Being In The Know About Industry News
The importance of being educated on the latest industry updates cannot be underestimated. It doesn’t matter what type of business you run or who your target market is, not keeping up-to-date with what’s new in your industry could leave your business open to security issues, or lead to you unwittingly failing to comply with new regulations. Moreover, businesses that aren’t informed of the latest industry updates also risk losing out to competitors by failing to deliver consumers what they want.
This article highlights the importance of keeping informed of industry updates, and how not being educated can be detrimental to some of the major areas of the of your business.
Industry Updates & Compliance with Regulations
All business owners will be familiar with the need to comply with regulations. However, the biggest problem for many entrepreneurs is the frequent changes to these rules.
Some businesses owners might regard regulations as just more red tape they must comply with when they’ve already got enough to think about, and they might not keep up with them like they should. However, not abiding by them can have heavy financial and legal consequences, and ignorance of the rules won’t be any defence, why is why keeping informed of any new changes is crucial to your business.
Although regulation is commonplace in every sector, the retail industry is a good example of where being up-to-date with the various industry related regulations is so important.
For instance, one of the major areas of regulation is PCI compliance. If you run a retail business, you’ll know there are four levels of PCI compliance and depending on the size and scale of your business, you will have to comply with one of those levels. If you don’t the fines can be as much as $5,000 a month, however, fortunately, you can ease this administrative burden to a degree by working with PCI compliant payment processor, but it’s not just about keeping up with existing regulations you need to be concerned with.
In addition to regulations already in place, there’s often something new to think about. For instance, in 2015, the Payments Systems Regulator announced plans to regulate the European Interchange fees for card payments in the UK, introducing a new level of fee caps that credit card companies had to comply with. This led to acquirers and card issuers having to look at pricing strategies and pricing models, and having to make some significant changes to their business models.
And then there is the inevitable industry developments that are also shaking up the industry. One of the most recent, the EMV switchover left merchants liable for chargebacks in some circumstances, and although this isn’t regulation, the change can still prove to be costly for merchants if they’re not on top of it.
Whatever industry you are trading in, you can keep up informed on regulatory changes through trade associations, Google alerts and press releases from your industry sector or by signing up for email and newsletter updates and registering with any relevant government and industry bodies etc.
Being Aware of Industry Updates Allows You to Identify New Opportunities
The more educated you are with the latest industry updates, the more likely you are to spot potential opportunities in your sector, such as new niches that other companies have yet to explore. You’ll also be better prepared to see possible opportunities for growth in your existing business.
Industry knowledge allows you to identify changing buying habits, new and different technologies, changes in styles and preferences or to see an increased demand in a specific area.
In addition, by being education on the latest updates, you’ll have the fuller picture and you’ll be aware of the potential threats you face from competitors, or other possible challenges that could hinder these new opportunities, and with enough current industry knowledge, combined with a sense of what is missing from the marketplace and what the consumer wants, you can identify possible areas for growth and spot gaps in the market.
There are several elements that contribute to business growth, and one of them is educating yourself on what your rivals are doing and learning from their approach; as Rob Biederman explained in an article on Entrepreneur.com, your competition might have answers to the obstacles that your business is currently struggling with the most. Once you have these answers, you’ll have the knowledge you need to drive your business forward further.
Keeping up with industry updates is also a useful method of spotting gaps in the market that have yet to be fulfilled; by knowing the latest in legislative updates and keeping a keen eye on competitors and new innovations, you’ll be must better placed to do this. You’ll also know what is already out there, how you can ‘tweak’ your business model to make it different to everyone else, and by learning about the latest industry trends, you’ll know what consumers are looking for.
Using Knowledge to Deliver Customers What They Want
In the last section, we talked about how being educated on the latest industry updates can help you spot gaps in the market and identify areas for growth. However, keeping informed will also enable you catch on to trends once they become popular, enabling you to deliver customers what they are looking for; from supplying the latest on-trend fashions, to providing the in-store experience that customers want, being able to deliver to customers’ expectations is imperative to business success.
A good example of this is mobile wallets. They didn’t take off in quite the way some anticipated to begin with, however, survey after survey has shown that mobile wallets have steadily gained ground and are increasing in popularity, especially among millennials, and this is an audience that businesses ignore at their peril.
According to Accenture, there are 80 million millennials in the U.S. alone, and they spend $600 billion a year – a figure that is predicted to rise to $1.4 trillion by 2020 – and they account for 30 percent of yearly retail sales in the U.S.
The same research also details how millennials are heavily influenced by real time product information availability and this would “influence their shopping choices in terms of which stores they would frequent”. Moreover, millennials state they like to have the option of mobile coupon scanning in-store, and how they prefer an integrated approach to their shopping experience, and personalized, targeted promotions.
Millennials also spend more on social activities, like eating in restaurants, cafes and bars and they want quick ways to pay; Starbucks was one of the brands that became aware of this trend and introduced a mobile order and pay system to cater for it. The app now accounts for 1 in 20 of its orders. The app also incorporates loyalty rewards to encourage customers to return and boosts efficiency, thus increasing customer satisfaction.
The Starbucks example demonstrates the importance of keeping up with what’s new and what your customers want, and how beneficial this can be to sales.
Industry Updates Increases Awareness of Security Issues
Every business will have had its share of security issues; worms, viruses and malware can affect anyone. However, ecommerce, physical businesses and any organization that deals with a lot of data is at an increased risk because of the perceived value to hackers.
Recently, cases where the payment modules or checkout pages are targeted on websites have becoming a bigger concern, and with the increased preference for internet shopping, these threats are likely to keep evolving. In addition, Forrester Research anticipate that cybersecurity issues such as ransomware will continue to be a threat, but these issues aren’t just limited to the online space.
In the first six months of 2016, there were more than 900 publicly announced data breaches; 64% of these were down to identity theft, and analysts expect this trend to continue into 2017 and beyond; these data breaches should be a concern for anyone who regularly takes payments.
And regardless of which sector you are trading in, point-of-sale systems are a common target for hackers, with high profile names, hotel chains and fast food chains being among those affected recently.
However, when you’re armed with the latest industry knowledge, you’ll be aware of additional methods that you can take to make a more secure environment for your customers, such as tokenization and encryption, and you’ll know about the latest in software updates and patches that could help protect against a breach.
Also, by being educated on the latest industry updates, you can put measures in place to boost your security where possible to improve consumer confidence; this could make all the difference between a customer choosing to shop with you, or choosing a competitor, which is why it’s vital you’re educated on the latest security threats and possible ways of preventing them.
Likewise, if you’re an ecommerce owner, you can ensure you have the latest security in place, and the latest, most secure payment methods/checkout, so your customers can be confident that they can pay safely when they buy from you.
Knowledge of the Latest Industry Updates Can Keep You Ahead of Competition
Staying competitive has never been more important in the thriving business sector, and that is true no matter what line of trade you are in. And it is fair to say there is one trait that can help your company to stay competitive: the ability to adapt.
As an example, the way we live has changed dramatically over the years, and customers consider themselves more time-poor than ever before. This means they are looking for easier ways to manage their lifestyles. As an example, they’re more likely to choose a shopping or eating venue that offers them the best overall customer experience, and that also includes giving them greater efficiency.
For instance, if you’re running a restaurant, and a rival is offering a faster, more customer friendly way of letting the customer pay or taking orders, then that automatically gives them an advantage over your business and means there is a chance that you’re going to start losing out to them.
However, by educating yourself on the latest industry updates and trends, and finding out about new, time saving ways to serve customers, you’ll be the one with the advantage. For instance, with some extra knowledge, you might have picked up on the growing use of Apple Pay, where your rivals hadn’t.
Research shows considerable growth in contactless payments, especially for restaurants, bars and pubs, according to research from Visa Europe, and if you can cater for customers by offering forms of payment like Apple Pay while some competitors still can’t, that could give you some advantage.
Another area where being educated can aid competitiveness is by keeping informed of the latest best industry practices.
Part of keeping up with best practices means being up-to-date with the latest in technology so your business can be more efficient and cost effective. For instance, if you’re running a restaurant or a bar, being able to offer mobile payments and serving customers on the go, in addition to your regular payments, will enable you to cater for the consumers who now prefer to use mobile payments.
Further, upgrading to one of the latest point of sales systems can also give you access to valuable data, which you can use to pick up on trends and inform your business decisions, which will aid the development your company.
With the latest education on what’s new in your industry, you’ll know about the newest products, ideas and ways of serving customers, which can help drive your business to the next level.
Staying up to date and educated on industry updates is of vital importance to every sector, but the impact on your business of not being up-to-date can sometimes be underestimated. However, without that knowledge, you might not be aware of the latest regulations or changes to existing ones, common problems like security flaws, or you’re might not be offering customers what they want so they go to a competitor.
In addition, knowledge of industry trends could also allow you to spot the next big product, and exceed the competition by spotting a niche that your rivals have yet to pick up on.