10 Startup trends to implement in 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak highlighted multiple shortcomings, so startups aiming to fix them boom nowadays. Here are 10 startup trends to implement in 2020.

Every crisis is a window for an opportunity, and the COVID-19 outbreak is no different. It highlighted lots of inconsistencies and shortcomings in various fields of our life. They were there before, yes, but they were not worth the trouble back then. However, in the reality of the upcoming post-quarantine economic recession, people and businesses cannot afford to remain lavish, and cost-efficiency becomes paramount.

Thus said, the consumers will order from those who will provide the best quality and the most affordable pricing, as well as providing the best customer experience. How to combine these seemingly mutually-exclusive goals? By implementing the latest technological innovations! IT Svit lists 10 startup trends to implement in 2020. They are listed in no particular order, as various aspects have a different value for different niches.

  1. Use cloud hosting and DevOps services
  2. Develop Progressive Web Applications
  3. Build decoupled systems
  4. Implement Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning models
  5. Utilize chatbots
  6. Consider enabling voice control
  7. Enable auto-renew functionality
  8. Provide drone delivery
  9. Be eco-friendly
  10. Mobile shopping is a must

Let’s take a closer look at each of these aspects.

Use cloud hosting and DevOps services

The key to being successful in the times of recession is being frugal. This means that you must ensure your initial MVP development and upcoming updates and new features are done in the most cost-efficient way — and this is the DevOps way coupled with cloud hosting. DevOps is a methodology of automating all repetitive processes in software development and infrastructure management to ensure the best allocation of limited resources. Due to the automation of routine operations, it is possible to save up to 90% time and up to 60% funds, as compared to conventional software development process using dedicated server hosting.

Why is it so? Because the cloud resources are virtualized and easily scalable, so you pay for them only when you use them and get as much as you actually need, not to mention the configuration of the needed environments takes minutes, not hours. Quite the opposite, using dedicated servers you have to configure everything manually, you pay for purchasing them and running them 24/7, while actually using them 8–10 hours a day at the most. Besides, if some hardware burns out, replacing it is your problem. In the cloud, it’s the vendor’s task and you never even bother with it.

Easy scalability, high security, support of the latest technology, ease of third-party module integration through REST APIs — all of these cloud computing features are crucial for many modern startup trends we discuss below. Many businesses prefer to start small and go for web hosting, but in the current situation, this means stating slow and shooting yourself in the leg, as cloud computing coupled with DevOps service ensures top speed of development.

Develop Progressive Web Applications

What kind of apps should you develop? We recommend going for PWAs, which are a type of software that provides the same app-like experience regardless of the customer’s device and browser. This way you can reach out to the widest possible target audience with a single platform without the need to build separate apps for every operating system. PWA technology was introduced back in 2015 and by 2020 it has grown to be a considerable segment of the web development market.

Progressive Web Applications boast the following features:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Offline mode availability
  • SEO-indexing
  • Push notifications
  • Don’t require downloads
  • Home screen widgets
  • Load fast
  • Simple and cheap development
  • Cross-platform

Thus said, developing your product as a PWA is a great choice for many industries. Actually, such eCommerce giants as Aliexpress and Lancome are PWAs along with many other businesses.

Build decoupled systems

Decoupled systems are platforms that operate microservices so that the customer-facing front-end part of your platform has no direct access to mission-critical back-end systems and databases. In order to do it, you need to use REST APIs and message brokers like Kafka or RabbitMQ to enable interactions between the components of your system. Thus, you can concentrate on A/B testing your website forefront, optimize it for SEO, develop custom loyalty programs and user engagement strategies without affecting the performance of your system.

In order to do this, you need your product to be containerized in a Docker container and run atop a Kubernetes cluster deployed in the cloud. This way various system components can be scaled up and down, rebooted and updated without affecting the functionality of the rest of the modules, ensuring uninterrupted end-user experience.

Implement Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning models

When AI and ML were first introduced, they induced huge hype according to the Gartner’s technology innovation curve. The idea of being able to analyze ALL the data available to your organization was so appealing that people thought it would bring immeasurable benefits. “Analyze everything” was the motto for several years while the industry was at the peak of inflated expectations.

However, as time passed, businesses and organizations understood that no hidden goldmines of business insight can be gained from endlessly analyzing huge data arrays without any particular purpose in mind. However, there were several successful experiments among the multitude of failures, and they helped cross the trough of disillusionment and reach the slope of enlightenment.

AI and ML are of best use when you know what you want to get from them. Monitor a bunch of parameters real-time and adjust them to ensure optimal cloud infrastructure performance is one of such applications. Tracking the customer’s purchase history, time spent deciding on each purchase and various other factors — a great approach to personalizing their customer experience and making it more positive. Using AI to transform speech to text and vice versa — another great recent application. All in all, the applicability depends on your industry and niche, but nearly any business can benefit from applying AI/ML models in its product, and AWS/Google/Azure make them more and more easily available to their customers.

Utilize chatbots

Chatbots are another great example of AI application for improving customer experience. WHether used to help your customers navigate your knowledgebase or browse your range of offerings, or help them master your app functionality quicker, chatbots are an easy and cost-efficient way of optimizing the customer journey. Even a shopping bot that asks several questions before providing access to your offers helps filter the inventory according to the customer’s expectations quite quickly and easily.

Consider enabling voice control

Voice control is a great tool for allowing the customers to make their orders while commuting or while they are otherwise occupied. The AI algorithm transforms the speech to text, identifies the instructions given and executes them. This can be of great use in a wide variety of scenarios and the products that provide such a functionality will have an advantage over those that don’t.

Enable auto-renew functionality

From buying groceries and medications to performing various other monthly supply refills, auto-renew is a great way to help your customers. Subscription-based operations that are done automatically every month allow saving lots of time in the long run. Even if your dashboard allows ticking a checkbox to repeat the previous order — it is a huge improvement over the need to do it manually every time.

Be eco-friendly

Global COVID-19 outbreak has once again highlighted the impact of industry on the nature of our planet. When the factories stopped emitting their pollutions, multiple communities across the globe reported a significant improvement of their ecological situations, and they are starting to demand the businesses to improve their processes and facilities. Thus said, the businesses that declare and demonstrate eco-friendliness will have an advantage over those that don’t.

Provide drone delivery

This is another aspect of eco-friendliness, as drones produce nearly no emissions, as compared to trucks or even scooters, so drone delivery can be a way for a small business to prove it is serious about ecology to their customers. Drones deliver one parcel at a time, yes, but they can be much more cost- and time-effective as compared to traditional means of delivery, as they can fly directly to their destinations across hills and rivers, don’t have to pay for using roads, don’t have to stand in traffic jams, etc.

Speed, convenience and eco-friendliness of operations can be your ace card above the competition. Drones navigate using AI in the cloud to identify their surroundings or can be man-controlled — either way is cheaper than hiring and maintaining a fleet of lorries to deliver your goods.

Mobile shopping is a must

The world is becoming increasingly mobile and new technologies like 5G connectivity and cloud data hashing enable the customers to shop seamlessly across a variety of devices. They might start adding items to cart from their office PC, continue from their smartphone using voice control while driving a car home, and finalize the order from their tablet at home — and your platform must recognize and seamlessly adapt to the change of device used by the customer.

The PWAs we mentioned above, the cloud computing used to run them, the DevOps processes used to develop them, the AI used to personalize the customer’s journey — all these technologies come together to ensure the customers receive uninterrupted, positive and memorable experience while using your products and services.

Conclusions on 10 startup trends to implement in 2020

We did not mention the obvious and self-explanatory needs to be customer-centric, solve real-world problem, provide heroic customer support, etc. A culture of openness, public transparency, positive employee culture are also taken for granted. All of this was explained a hundred times already and is expected by default.

Instead, we highlighted 10 technology trends your startup can implement in 2020 and gain a significant advantage over the competition. Of course, some of them are less applicable in certain niches, but some pieces of advice are true for any industry. Running your products and services in the cloud and using DevOps workflows to build and update these applications, store and analyze the data — this can ensure the speed, flexibility and cost-efficiency of operations you need to survive and succeed during the economic recession.

DevOps & Big Data lover