As the world becomes increasingly digitized and more personal information gets stored online, Americans have become more informed about cyber security risks. As concluded through various studies conducted by the PEW Research Center, Americans as a whole have become more skeptical of institutions holding their information and how secure it is. However, as security measures have increased over time, Americans have also had a harder time maneuvering through the complexities of modern cyber security.
It was recently reported that in rural areas, 35 percent of Americans do not have access to the Internet (about 25 million Americans), according to CBS News. This is far greater than the 3 percent of citizens living in urban areas who don't have Internet access. This gap remains in spite of federal courts declaring that Internet service is a utility similar to electricity and water.
Consumers have reaped the benefits of the rise of e-commerce by capitalizing on its emphasis on speed, convenience and accessibility of information. Despite that growth, retail and physical store locations remain dominant due to their legacy status and long-term prominence in the economy. However, in regions where retail locations have yet to take hold, the effects and benefits of e-commerce reach a greater magnitude. The accessibility and reach of modern e-commerce systems make these regions accessible to businesses of all sizes, not just the largest players in the market.
The rise of mobile e-commerce, branding its own identity (m-commerce),appeared to be the logical next step in the Internet world through the proliferation of smartphone ownership. But with native applications as a cornerstone to m-commerce, there is little room to penetrate an already-established market.
In a recent announcement through Google's blog "The Keyword," the company plans to abandon scanning user emails through Gmail, which helps serve targeted advertisements. This change is planned to occur before the end of the year.
Visuals, in an underlying way, have influenced consumer decisions — mostly within retail — as advertising dollars are disproportionately spent within that market. Psychology and shopping have long been connected, and new research has found connections between consumers and visual stimulants that imply the connection is stronger than originally thought. Regardless of the market, whether retail or B2B, visual assets continue to play a factor in the consumer purchase life cycle and plays a key role in creating an omnichannel shopping experience.
Facebook continues to develop new programs and initiatives in order to increase their standing among the newspaper community. Most recently, it announced that publishers will be allowed to have metered and premium paywalls around their Instant Articles. The Instant Articles program was introduced by Facebook in 2015 as an attempt to establish a newspaper presence on the platform and gain a commanding control of the mobile news market.
For some retail companies, the rise of the Internet and the prominence of e-commerce has been an insurmountable challenge. Others have made changes to their company's structure and adjusted resources to react toward the changing retail landscape and accommodate for a more online-orientated consumer base. Michele Buck, president and CEO of The Hershey Company, recently made announcements of the company's big push into e-commerce and listing online retail as a major focus and an area of growth, as reported by Business Insider.
Adobe announced recently that it has officially initiated plans to end-of-life Adobe Flash, which means they will no longer update or distribute the Flash Player by 2020. Included in the brief, Adobe made mention to other open source languages, such as HTML5, and encouraged developers and content creators to migrate over to these industry standards. Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla all made announcements following the release of the news, who outlined how the Flash withdrawal would operate on their platforms and offered developers resources to ease the transition into other open source languages.
The Internet has created a new dynamic and structure for B2B businesses in which marketing teams, sales teams and e-commerce tools converge to maximize revenue. Some industry studies have painted a bleak future for sales teams, one in which they'll be phased out entirely and replaced with automated e-commerce stores. The assumption is often backed up with data indicating a shifting consumer preference towards e-commerce. Even though Internet accessibility and overall technological adaption rates are increasing globally, e-commerce and traditional sales roles have integrated together. New studies and industry reports have now suggested B2B businesses can reinforce their existing channels while simultaneously integrating new technology such as e-commerce.