Changes in lifestyles, the economy, globalization and developments in technology are affecting the way businesses and their customers interact.

Within the last few years there have been dramatic changes in the areas of

• Communication – Personal Media
• Customers – Attitudes, Expectations, Values, Power
• Manufacturing – Margins, Competition
• Workforce – Values, Attitudes
• Globalization – New Competitors, New Markets

 

These changes have had wide reaching implications on how businesses must develop to remain competitive and effective in the future. Consider the effect of just one new technology and how it impacts on all areas of retailing: The Barcode.

The Barcode has now become intelligent and with a cost of around 3p per unit, supermarkets will no longer require checkout staff. There will be automatic scanning of your trolley content resulting in a high speed, efficient customer experience. There will be no POS payment with charges debited directly to your account.

The implications of this development are summed up by:

  • The consumer is now in control
    • The consumer no longer needs to interact with the retailer / you
    • The user pays for transaction costs
    • Reduced costs to the retailer could lead to price cuts of up to 20%

Another change has taken place in the area of marketing. Surveys have shown that the youth of today are becoming more consumer-savvy and insensitive to most common marketing practices. They have instant access to information and therefore, are relying on more credible sources of information and are demanding to be better informed on products.

Consumers are responding to developed relationships with trusted sources. They are motivated by a ‘feel good’ expectation and are looking for instant gratification from their spend. Consumers are now taking control in the marketplace.

This change is leading to:
• The demise of advertising and rise of word of mouth promotion
• Control in the hands of the customer
• Manufacturers and retailers must customize to meet the market
• High pressure to differentiate products and service
• A range of ways to connect to the consumer
• The establishment of networks with ‘trusted’ entities

‘Flashy’ advertising to entice the customer is quickly being replaced by old fashioned market principles.

But the future is not a random event. If you do not act now to influence your own future, then someone else will. Your vision is your future. If you believe it, you can see it and if you can see it, you can influence it.

Planning is all about creating your future. And we are at hand to help you with your business plan and setting your vision.