Amid global economic and financial restructuring and political chaos, markets are headed for a time in which the customer is the market driver. Many industries are undergoing a paradigm shift. Banks are constantly innovating to ensure that digital banks don’t eat away at their market share. Additionally, large retail chains are facing stiff competition from digital counterparts. The manufacturing sector is undergoing a digital transformation to compete against encroachments by tech companies and utility providers.
What was once perceived to be a “millennial mindset” is now the nucleus of business, an element of this ecosystem. Analysts are predicting a customer-led future in the following three major areas:
- Customer Experience
- Leadership and Business
1. Customer Experience
Modern day customers are very much empowered and informed. According to Forrester, 40% of customers are more than willing to shift, and another 25% are thinking along these lines. Today’s customers can make or break a brand with positive or negative feedback, even if it is their first experience. Initially, businesses thought this was just about millennials, but it also affects older generation customers as well. In general, today’s customers are uncertain, and this can turn profitable companies into what analysts call “leaking buckets.” Analysts anticipate a shift change to reach up to 50%, compelling customers to either increase their spending to grow or remain flat by adding more customers.
2. Leadership and Business
Today, CEOs and board members are wary that small incremental changes won’t satisfy their purpose, and that this will put them at risk. For businesses to grow and compete in a customer-led market, they need to make a major shift in strategy and answer some important questions including:
- Are we close enough to the customer?
- Can we remove complex structures and approaches?
- Do we sell multiple products or services to multiple customer segments?
Companies today are going for a decentralized operational model to ensure they are as close to their customers as possible. Care is taken to avoid business fragmentation or compromising on
margins. According to Forrester, a third of companies in the business-to-consumer space will start to change their business structure to ensure a closer proximity to their customers.
Technology has changed the global business landscape. From a consumer perspective, it has also changed people’s lifestyles and empowered consumers to know how businesses function. At times, the speed of innovation is so fast it can be difficult for businesses to catch up. The next wave of technology innovations may transform the way industries operate altogether.
According to Forrester, these technologies will be accessible in three different forms:
- Engagement technologies will create distinct visual, physical, and digital experiences
- Insight technologies will transform predictive analytics into more meaningful information for better operational decision-making
- Supporting technologies will drive new speed levels to improve efficiency and productivity
With digital technology taking center stage, customers are more informed about various products and services. What we are seeing is a tectonic shift in the way businesses function. This customer-driven market has come as a major threat to some industries questioning their survival if they don’t undergo the transition.
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