It is often met with fear and resistance, but change should always be viewed as an opportunity, not a threat. It is something which any and all industries will encounter, and at the end of the day, it is those who embrace change who will come out on top. As Obama once said, “for the world has changed, and we must change with it”. Today we take a look at three reasons why change is important, and how it has been successfully embraced by different sectors.
1: A shift in consumer preferences
The fundamental reason why each industry exists is due to the value it provides. This value isn’t constant however- and consumer preferences can evolve rapidly. The auto industry for example, had initially shown great resistance to the idea of electric vehicles. In the 1990’s, it was government mandates which prompted large automakers to produce electric vehicles, not the desire to head in a different direction.
This all began to change as new and innovative brands such as Tesla emerged in the early 2000’s, taking just over a decade to shift the status quo away from Big Oil to an electric future. Such drastic transformations were first meet with skepticism, with critics pointing to shortcomings in technological capability. However, as consumers became more environmentally conscious, they opened up to the idea of trying something new (and better). This has resulted in an exponential increase in investment into the electric vehicle industry. Both incumbents including the likes of Ford and General Motors, as well as newcomers such as Faraday Future are making significant investments into electric, despite their previous protestations and resistance.
IMAGR is a strong believer that more personalized experiences are the future of retail. A similar belief is reflected in the way Tesla sells their cars- without dealerships. The reason (aside from reducing costs), is because Tesla not only realizes the importance of a great product, but also the importance of a personalized and boutique experience. The value of being able to deliver this superior experience is now higher than ever, as customers are presented with a plethora of choices.
To illustrate the pace at which change is taking place, Elon Musk once said, “by the year 2040, driving around in a gasoline powered car would be tantamount to riding a horse”.
2: Technology brings opportunities
One of the biggest drivers of change within any industry is technology. Take retail for example- an industry which has morphed from small corner stores in each neighborhood, to large supermarkets and online retail, to perhaps more recently a shift back to smaller format offerings. Technology is at the center of this shift, and IMAGR is at the forefront of this transformation. Offering our SMARTCART technology, we are set to revolutionize the way customers shop. In the face of growing online competition, we see it as critical that traditional retailers embrace new technology to continue their long history of success.
Relating back to the point of creating more personalized experiences, retailers can no longer get away with long lines at the checkout, or poor levels of customer service. From our findings, 39% of shoppers have reported leaving a retailer when unsatisfied with their experience, and supermarket checkouts represent a major point of friction holding back a smoother experience. Remember- purely in terms of convenience, online players offer an increasingly attractive alternative.
The one aspect online retailers can never deliver is the experience. When presented with the option, most customers would happily choose to shop in person than to do it over the internet. This is the key to all bricks and mortar retail going forward- shopping can no longer be viewed as a chore, but rather a positive, fulfilling experience. Only this way will retailers successfully retain (and grow) their customer base in the face of growing online competition.
The founder of Walmart, Sam Walton once famously proclaimed, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else”.
While Walton might never have predicted the rise of online retail, his quote has transcended time and remains as true today, as the day it was said all those decades ago.
3: Change for survival
Finally, change is often necessary for the sake of survival. Many industries are being disrupted, and to miss out on the latest trends in your industry could be the start of your downfall. Companies in all industries, big and small, realize this fact. The journey of transformation isn’t an easy one, and the truth is not all will survive. Fortunately, there are always mechanisms in place to ensure your continued success, the question is, will you find, and embrace them?
IMAGR is a market leader in the field of artificial intelligence, computer vision, and customer experience. Our goal is to enable customers to shop SMARTER, while at the same time helping retailers adapt to a rapidly changing environment.