Everyone has heard the story of what happened to Blockbuster. The VHS-rental business was the national leader in movie rentals until Netflix came along. Blockbuster had market dominance, piles of cash, and a massive customer base. So why did they lose out? The problem was that Blockbuster didn’t understand how to ride the trend. The overwhelming majority of consumers don’t care about a company’s values, they care about the functionality of the product or service they are purchasing. Consumers ask themselves: “Is it easier to use than a competitor? Is it cheaper?” Netflix figured out how to do both. Their DVD service was both easier to use and less expensive than Blockbuster. When Netflix added streaming, the gap became an ocean. Netflix disrupted the industry with DVDs, but they truly showed they understood how to innovate when they adopted streaming technology. If Netflix resisted streaming in favor of DVDs, they could have gone the way of Netflix. But Netflix proved that they know how to ride the trend in new technology.
New Trends Can Disrupt An Entire Industry
Blockbuster is the easiest example of how new trends disrupt an industry. But there are plenty more. Take the old department stores for example. You can even add malls into this category. Malls and department stores across the country have been struggling to compete with Amazon for some time now. It turns out that consumers don’t actually need to physically be at the store to shop, they can browse and pick out the items that they want directly from their smartphone.
Make Sure You Don’t Get Caught Flat-Footed
As an organization, the worst thing that you can do is get caught flat-footed. If you don’t know what is happening in your industry and what the technological trends are, you are likely to get blindsided at some point. Don’t let that happen to you. Make sure that your organization invests in new technology and the development of new products and services over time.
Embrace Change, Don’t Resist It
Failing to embrace change can have catastrophic results for any organization, but especially for a business. Remember, consumers do not have any ties to you personally or to your company’s particular values. Consumers are looking for the best possible deal for themselves, both from a functionality perspective and from a financial perspective. Miss that, and in the long-term it is likely that you’ll forget what your customers are really purchasing from you—convenience. That is why you need to embrace change, and not resist it. Stay up on the latest trends and don’t shy away from trying new things, even if your organization stumbles a bit at first. That is a better outcome than being caught off guard by a new trend and being unable to change fast enough to meet your customers’ shifting demands.