We always keep a watch on trends, be it fashion, digital, education or just about anything. Why we do that because we want to stay above the curve, better than everyone & to be unique.
Financial world: Micro is in and here to stay.
Let’s talk about a few examples first
1. Goods on Credit
Sometime back my brother needed a new mobile phone. A simple solution just buy it online and pay via credit card. But he didn’t want to use the credit card and he didn’t want to invest a huge sum in getting a premium one. So, he walked into a big digital store and enquired about finance options, he got one and he is the proud owner of the latest top model mobile phone. By paying a small monthly fee, he opted for the EMI which is less than 2% of his salary and which he can comfortably not notice and still own a phone.
2. Recharge on credit:
If you have a prepaid mobile number chances are that there are few times when you didn’t notice and have no balance left in the phone number. If this is an emergency what is that you do. Lot of customers opt in for credit. It is a credit of Rs. 10 or 20 which is sufficient to make few phone calls. For a rural customer living in a village in India, it is sufficient for a day or two till you manage to go to a nearby store and get a recharge. The credit money gets deducted when you recharge next time.
3. Small savings:
Savings money is always an issue for all the people and this includes Americans. It is then a guy in America Ethan Bloch thought of a solution to encourage savings for everybody. So, Bloch created an App called Digit, the App which dips in your bank account and takes out pennies or some meagre amounts like $10 or sometimes $30 and adds it to your savings. It is the magic of the algorithm which checks the spending patterns and will take out only what’s you won’t notice or miss. Over a period of time Digit has done savings worth more than $700 million dollars for its users.
So, what’s common in all these stories, Magic isn’t it. That’s how your world of finance is changing. It will be based on micro-credits and micropayments and micro savings which you won’t even notice. There are many other examples and companies which are slowly changing the way you manage finance and all at the micro levels.
Some of the bold examples is Acorns, which take pennies when you shop and invest in the stock market and Ready for Zero which pays for your loans and credit cards. Back in India, it is Bajaj finance which is changing the game with microfinance.
Slowly and steadily the world will move to micro in the financial world. The common man will have plenty of solutions which will be at disposal. The big banks will soon have to adopt these methods and pretty soon we will see the whole financial and maybe insurance world adopting similar solutions. The trend is just the beginning and not even noticeable but wait and watch.
Home: where we live is going to change.
Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world, its selling strategy is to always capture emotions. The point is people always take emotional decisions than a logical one.
The products Apple sells are hardware and yet how many times they talk about the configurations, RAM, memory etc, chances are it is only once when they launch the product. Rest of the times they keep the communication and focus on the things which matter to common people. Photos and Music.
Apple advertising will talk about how good their photos and how good their photo management is. Apple hosts the biggest online library of music with iTunes and now apple music which is their product on subscription for unlimited music.
Here is what Apple has done again. It launched a speaker for home and they are called it HomePod, A new Sound of home. The purpose, play music and enjoy, you can use Apple music to play unlimited music or connect to any other music App or player.
What you haven’t noticed is Apple quietly sneaked into your home in the name of the music speaker with Siri, Calendar, Search & AI integrated with the HomePod. Soon it will start managing your home from doing a voice-based search to simple orders like make a call to someone or just open the door for family members.
Though home automation is from pretty long time and no one is able to put a serious dent in the market except to an extent by Samsung which had a concept called Smart homes. The problem, however, remained how to enter the home without knocking at the door.
Amazon is the first one to sense and launch Alexa, followed by Apple and Google with their own products. Soon Samsung, Sony and Nokia will also follow suit. Home is going to be regulated not by App or phone but by voice and That’s how convenient it gets. Just like the Mobile phone, it will penetrate all homes and we will soon be giving instructions to one of the Home assistants. If you are thinking this will replace your mobile at home, it will not do that.
Home is going to be changed forever and smart homes are going to be part of your lifestyle and the trend which is beginning to emerge.
Software services: Sorry, No sales team to pitch
In my first job with Vodafone, I used to pitch enterprise solutions along with Microsoft, Nokia, HTC and other enterprise companies. It was hard selling to the CIO/CTO of the companies, making presentations and telling them how it will be beneficial to their companies.
Think enterprise solution sales, how it happens now. It is on the cloud and packages available on the internet. You need a solution, think of companies and just compare their product and buy online. There is no influencing, no presentations and no sales calls etc. Software sales have changed and now is the time for consumer independence from selling and undue influencing.
Think about any company where you think you will buy an enterprise product. Most of it is available online on subscription. If you Microsoft office, it is available online, just pay a monthly $10 fees and download. Need a server to host your App or services, just log in to Amazon, get a package without even paying. Use first pay later. Similarly, Basecamp a project management software available at a small per month price. There are numerous examples which include, Zoho, Freshdesk, Dropbox, Unbounce, Salesforce, box, slack and many others.
More and more enterprise and B2B companies will move to this model of selling and if they don’t they will perish. There will be only a few members of marketing teams and no sales team whatsoever in software services in future. People will sell online and people will buy online. All you will need is a world class product.
Going by these trends you are looking at the future where you will be able to buy a HomePod with a microfinance app, and also pay monthly a small sum monthly for the software you have on the pod or player.
These sectors will have plenty of jobs in the coming years. There are more digital trends like electric cards, Machine learning and so on. However, I see these trends as the biggest impact on you as a consumer.
The article was originally written for jaipuria times, a TOI newspapers edition for a Jaipuria schools in Madhya pradesh.
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