Think of the biggest industry disruptors in recent times. Of course technology plays its part, but the real difference between the true disruptors and the might-haves is the ability to predict exactly what consumers desire before they even know it themselves.
Look at Uber. We were all happy with the traditional taxi service before a smart phone app changed everything. Consider Airbnb. Aside from those early innovators using sofa surfing forums, who knew that peer-to-peer accommodation was the shake up to travel we all needed?
But the shockwaves from Covid-19 have changed everything.
Where once consumers were in the dark on the latest urgent tech innovators, now they are at the forefront of demand. And tech innovation isn’t just for a select-few, it’s an absolute essential for all businesses.
Consumer expectation and demand is on the rise. The message for all brands is innovate or be left behind. This is the tipping point for technology.
Every industry is vulnerable
As the seismic shifts caused by Covid-19 continue to shake up the way we live, shop, work, and even look for houses, a variety of industries are particularly vulnerable.
Those in more traditional industries have seen a required shift towards abandoning long-held ways of working and supply chains to direct to consumer models underpinned by technology.
Josh Bolland CEO, J B Cole commented: “I’ve been speaking with a lot of businesses recently about rapid pivots to sustain their offering through this tough time, as well as implement change for the future.
“As well as software solutions to improve automation and provide better online services, we’re also seeing manufacturers and their supply chains selling products directly to consumers (D2C) rather than retail or wholesale (B2B).”
This new empowered and in control consumer, requires businesses to evolve, change and cater to their exact needs.
For many people, a day out shopping on a Saturday or a late Thursday night for example was a right of passage. But despite the recent re-opening of the high street, 10% of people in the UK plan to cut this activity from their lives completely. We’ve already seen the huge drop in profits suffered by Primark – estimated to be £650 million a month – due to their lack of e-commerce platform during lockdown. In comparison pure online retailers have thrived as online shopping increased – UK ecommerce sales grew by 168% in May.
Having an e-commerce platform alone isn’t enough
But just having an e-commerce platform isn’t enough. With increasing consumer demand comes the requirement for a slick, seamless and intuitive customer experience.
Josh continued: “It’s easier than ever for retailers to bring the right technology into their everyday. For example, the current 2020 market share for WooCommerce is ~26% of the top 1m sites using eCommerce tech. That’s up 5% in the last year and is not stopping any time soon. This is just one solution that’s fast to take to market and scalable, which makes it a great tool for businesses to adopt, quickly.”
Despite the property industry being one of the first to be back operational, how we search for and view houses is changing too. With a reluctance to enter a home for an initial look, many consumers require in-depth video tours as the first viewing. And the message for estate agents and new home builders? This is the minimum that’s needed.
The hospitality industry as a whole got a much needed boost as thousands flocked to pubs, bars and restaurants for “Super Saturday” on 4th July, but things won’t be as they were for a long time now. Or at all.
In the face of changes to traditional ways of ordering food and drinks, tech innovation has shown the way. Innovative app seatd has launched a tech solution to support venues and bolster the industry. Customers can now buy food and drink directly from their table using the app.
Specifically there’s no upfront setup costs, ensuring pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes and venues have an effective and efficient way of catering to the new normal. Going one step further, seatd will also support hard-hit communities by giving each customer the option to donate to a local charity at no extra cost to the venue.
While this is the essential helping hand for the hospitality industry to cater to the new needs of their customers, not every industry and business can look to innovators to assist.
Whether change is being driven by consumer behaviour, government regulations, or the unpredictable landscape of Britain as a whole, every business in every industry needs to innovate, evolve and adapt. And those crucial technology decisions are now in their own hands.
For more articles like this, industry insights and thoughts from our community, check out issue one of The Colectiv, our brand new digital publication.