What does innovation mean to your industry?
We continue to hurtle towards a new technological era where everything is connected. For anyone it can be a tad daunting trying to keep ahead of every little advancement.
Even more so when you are trying to weigh up what is best for your business?. What do you implement for your day to day activities that will easily benefit your organization, both internally and externally?
A common question I get is, how do we keep our interactions personal if we introduce these pieces of technology?
The question I pose, is what happens if you don’t start investing in technology?
This is after all, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and no business will be immune. As you read this, your client base is getting smarter everyday in how they interact with businesses. This is due to the main platforms, social and search constantly innovating and pushing the boundaries on making it easier to engage with them.
What that means is that businesses can no longer afford to neglect that website that was built 3 years ago or adding tools on to it to enhance customer engagement.
Let’s look at a few industries/brands that underestimated the rollout of technology and what would happen to them.
- Founded in 1971
- Sold Cds, dvds, books, calendars
- Sold Starbucks coffees at each store
- Employed over 19500
- Had 517 stores
- Filed for bankruptcy in 2011
Where did it go wrong?
Lack of foresight for technology – Online sales, Ebooks, mp3, free WiFi.
The biggest mistake they made was they chose to sign a deal to allow Amazon to sell and ship all of their books for 10 years. The brand allowed a competitor to bridge the gap of satisfying the customer’s needs. In the stores in the US they charged people to use the WiFi and as ebooks became more popular, they refused to enter the market until July 2010. This was 3 years after Kindle launched and only a year later, Borders had closed their doors.
Hilton and Marriot hotel chains
Founded in 1919 and 1927 respectively, two of the largest hotel chains in the world. Both are steeped in rich history and set a standard for most hotel chains on service and room presentation. In 2018 they were valued at $23.6 bn and $42 bn and Airbnb was valued at $31 bn. Airbnb has dropped to $18 bn but it is forecasted to possibly rise to above $40 bn.
Where did it go wrong?
These are established brands that are now under threat by the average household owner. They were slow to understand the experience and convenience that people were seeking to have.
Everywhere you look new players to the market are willing to bring in technology to disrupt their markets. The aforementioned businesses are big and sometimes there is a tendency to think that innovation only affects the bigger businesses. The same was said at the start of rise of internet with many businesses feeling they didn’t need a website.
Now drones are being used to deliver products, with armies even looking into using them for large pieces of equipment. Automated drink vending machines for bars are beginning to be used, self-service is being trialed at some fast food outlets and Uber is delivering groceries during lockdown to people’s homes.
Everyone is seeking an experience in their interaction with their favorite brand and smart businesses are rising to the challenge.
What should you do?
Here are a few tips to consider for your engagement with your target audience –
User experience – It is more important than ever to look into the future and what technology will affect your business and your bottom line. Every touch point needs to be reviewed and possibly refreshed and the user experience and messaging refined, including your website.
Automation – CRM’s are getting better and the applications are numerous. If designed well into the processes of your business, these can add a more personalised experience for each customer. Most important thing to do is to – SEGMENT your database to cater to each person carefully.
Chatbots – Added to the website, mobile apps and your social media give the clients the feeling of a guided DIY service whilst interacting with your brand, at a time that suits them the best.
A.I – Smarter chatbots are using artificial intelligence to help give a better experience for users of mobile apps and websites. Big brands are using it to analyze customer data and tailor products to their users. Platforms like Facebook, WeChat, Netflix, Pinterest and Google are using it more extensively and there will be a flow on effect.
Social LMS – Allow your staff/team members to have access to a tool that allows them to upskill. The two benefits are that they will feel more empowered in their roles and be able to provide a better service to your clients.
VSO – Voice Search Optimisation is coming. Soon it will affect your business as more people begin to search more for your services/products through their mobile devices. Therefore, common phrases used by people to search for services/products you provide must be a consideration for your website.
Cybersecurity – Invest in protecting your online assets from hacking and possible ransomware. Nothing could be more disappointing than have your digital assets hacked and not being able to interact with your audience. This disruption can be costly but can be avoided by having various systems put in place.
IoT – the reality is this is no longer for sci-fi movies. Internet of Things is being driven by electric cars that are looking to become driverless. Homes and offices are also beginning to become more automated with technology being implemented to reduce emissions, increase building performance, track inventory and deliveries. All of this has a flow on effect to the average business, especially as government bodies strive to reduce their emissions.
Lockdown has forced so many organizations to evaluate how efficiently they are engaging with their teams, suppliers and clients.
Now is definitely the time for all businesses to consider what other tools needed to be added to ensure they are better prepared in the future. Innovating now will set up your business for a smoother transition when others are trying to get up and running.
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