These days, any business would have to be hiding in a cave on the coastline of Alaska to avoid digitization. Any company without a website may as well not be in operation; any industry that you can’t track via social media seems closed off and aloof; if you’re not multiplatform and multimedia, you’re behind the curve.
Technology, software, products and services are rapidly converging, with innovations meaning the divide between on and offline is diminishing. It’s a new industrial revolution that has already completely changed business strategy and consumption.
So what industries are the most affected by digitisation? Here are just a few examples of industries that have faced (and embraced) radical changes to digitisation.
We literally don’t need to walk into the shops anymore. We can buy our groceries online and have them delivered to the door; we order our books from Amazon, stream films, browse clothes and try them on in the privacy of our own home. This means that the traditional tactics of shops – window displays, shop designs, sales patter – are steadily becoming obsolete.
Although most of us still do physically go to the shops, retailers are getting ahead of the trend and we are seeing technologies like the virtual changeroom emerge to complement the growing trend of online purchasing, allowing retailers to theoretically still have some input into the buying process.
As we all hear again and again, print is dead – but people are reading and writing more than ever. The digital explosion has seen people sharing, commenting on and downloading articles and books more than ever before. The publishing industry as it stands traditionally is at odds with online media; something that has survived for some 200 years as a physical, paid product is struggling to find ways to continue to make money in a world where free content is readily available digitally.
But publishers are innovating too. eReaders make books far more accessible and much cheaper to produce – many people claim they read more because of their Kindle. Newspapers are integrating their online offerings with social media; in a history-making decision, Time Out London – the behemoth of events magazines – has gone free, and is integrating its offering across its website, an app and comprehensive social media presence.
Considering that the time when people had to bank their pay cheques during bank opening hours is not too distant a memory, banking has certainly come a long way in recent years. After the major shift from cheque-based transactions to plastic, we’ve seen internet and phone banking, apps, contactless payments and now even trials of cardless withdrawals via mobile apps.Personal banking has been completely revolutionized by technology and digital. Inevitably, one day cash will be a memory too.
Of course, these three sectors are just a few examples of how digital is changing industries and how they are consumed – other industries are springing up around digital enterprise, and others are faltering.
How has your industry been affected by digital?
What other industries have been revolutionized by digital?