Friday, March 31st, 2017 | 4 min read
We’ve seen the greatest shift in consumer purchase behavior in the history of, well, purchase behavior. It’s such a seismic trend, that for anyone who sells something, change is not an option – it’s a necessity.
Or, as I like to say, “If you don’t like change, you’re really going to dislike obsolescence.”
To understand the scope of this shift, look no further than the retail industry. Since 2006, virtually all major big box mainline retailers have had their valuations slashed, and many have declared bankruptcy. It took 11 years to alter an entire way of business, and in that time there was no material alteration to the business models.
At the same time, Amazon – one of the best examples of how to embrace change – was up 1,900% over the same period.
Management teams around the globe have to change how they operate in the midst of this massive shift, lest they risk becoming a competitive advantage for their existing competitors and any newcomers that have license to launch new concepts at will.
This is not just a B2C issue – B2B is going through an equally radical change. For companies of all stripes, loyalty is up for grabs and likely to be won by the brand to which consumers want to “belong.” How many of us have bought a bottle of wine just because the label was cool? Yup, we’ve all done it.
For an example of the new world in action, consider the mattress industry and the influx of hip D2C brands – like Casper, Saatva and Tuft & Needle. The consumers buying these products NEVER bought them before. Why? They didn’t exist in the consumers’ last purchase cycle. And now, estimates how that these companies have already captured a 5%-7% share of a $17 billion market.
Why is this a big deal? It happened in less than 3 years! Could the legacy players in this space have consumed this share? You bet. But as we know, change is hard and it’s uncomfortable. With that in mind, as the great Larry Wilson from Wilson Learning said, “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
So, what does all this mean? For legacy businesses that have always done things the same way, or are slow to adopt digital as part of their go-to business platform, keep in mind: The longer you wait, the larger the opportunity screams for someone to seize upon this gap.
Today, launching a new business is easier than ever, as virtually all newcomers establish a business /marketing platform steeped in data driven decision making, allowing them to “Act on what they know…Not what they think.” This sets up a massive competitive advantage we all know as “Speed.”
And as we in the marketing world like to say, “Speed Kills.”
So to the end, change, adopt and evolve, or die. Get the right folks in the right seats on the bus and by all means get comfortable being uncomfortable and set your vision to track on how consumers are engaging and deciding and not on what you think consumers are doing based on your past experience.
Look no further than yourself. Are you buying the same way you bought one, three or five years ago. Nope. You’re not, and neither are your customers.