Consumer-oriented companies need to change how they turn their businesses and take bold steps to stay relevant for consumers using smart data and technology, according to EY FutureConsumer.Now, which identified five business imperatives for targeted companies to consumers, which they can apply now.
"There are few who can predict how the future client will act, but one thing is certain for organizations that are confronted with the new type of consumers: not taking any change is not an option, it is a direct way to extinction. Today's leaders shape customer behavior, trying to integrate them more and more into their own ecosystem, based primarily on superior service quality and intelligent use of data, "said Cristian Carstoiu, Partner, Department of Assistance in Business, EY Romania.
For example, Walmart - the largest retailer of "brick & mortar" - was the boldest to diversify its business model and adapt to new trends.
At the Walmart Associate and Shareholders Event in June 2018, CEO Doug Millon referred to the organization he runs as a "technology company," not surprising at all, if we look at the success of e-commerce initiatives and improving customer experience.
FutureConsumer.Now imperatives are the result of a qualitative research activity over a year, with over 200 business leaders, futurists and professionals in different fields, to create a complete picture of what the future consumer might look like and what it means this for today's companies.
Five business imperatives and EY recommendations for consumer-oriented companies:
1. Exploiting each opportunity
Agile firms entering the market use technology and identify new market placement trails competing with existing business models, while most traditionally trained companies are trying to protect their legacy by developing their business and pursuing gradual upgrades.
In order to remain competitive, companies will have to respond to three requirements: maximize the downsizing benefits of existing business models to sustain their transformation; build on current capabilities in a way that will lead to the development of new business models and create new capabilities that will allow the capitalization of new opportunities.
Some examples of companies that have adopted this direction can be seen on the Chinese market, where players such as AliBaba or Baidu began by imitating business models of already established companies (Amazon or Google) but chose to diversify with services or innovative business models (such as marketplace or cross-offers with the financial, telecom or utilities industry), thus attracting an intangible customer segment ever.
2. Choosing the "tribe"
Companies that are guided by the values and concerns of their target groups, which matter most to their business and their "tribe", will gain competitive advantage.
By positioning differently and integrating the mission they assume in every aspect of their organization, companies can develop deep, sustainable and profitable relationships with consumers, the professional community they are targeting, and other stakeholders.
The Design Thinking methodology and techniques such as Customer Experience Management, for example, have been introduced from the start in successful business strategies with a manic focus on the current and target customers' experience.
3. Gaining each micro-moment
Technologically oriented consumers will increasingly acquire goods, services and experiences in "micro-moments" without any preference for any platform they use.
Companies will have to personalize and tailor the product offer they provide to their customers, along with the price and timing they offer, as consumers make purchasing decisions within seconds, regardless of the brand.
4. Provide measurable results
As technology gives the consumer more information about acquisitions than ever, generalized brand promises will become redundant as consumers require more measurable and personalized results that go beyond the key benefits of the product or service.
Smart consumers of the future will have total transparency about the quantifiable consequences of each purchasing and consumption option they make. In this context, companies can show transparently the positive benefit of their product or service to attract more targeted consumers.
5. Managing the ecosystem
New technologies and business models disrupt traditional value chains and successful consumer-oriented companies will take advantage of new opportunities by setting where and how they can bring more value.
Therefore, companies will have to define what kind of consumer-oriented ecosystem they want to create and decide where they want to operate in this ecosystem.