Business is all about supply and demand.
Much like the push and pull of the waves, supply and demand are in a never-ending dance with one another. One person steps, the other follows; one person moves, the other follows; businesses supply, consumers demand; users question, businesses answer. This relationship has existed for thousands of years and our technological age is no different. For example, demand may have shifted from horses to horsepower, but the essential need for transportation remains.
The Ebb and Flow
The digital age has only just begun and consumers are growing more curious by the day. They’re questioning everything from who will create the next best technology to when it will be available and how they can get their hands on it. A couple years ago, one of the most mesmerizing tech innovations was clap-on clap-off lighting. Now, consumers are enthralled with voice technologies like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. Straight out of a science fiction novel, these two AI programs are now available for widespread consumer use.
Augmented reality and virtual reality have also gained center stage with the developments of the Oculus Rift and gaming apps like Pokémon Go. While the former did not gain as much traction in the eyes of the masses, both technologies did something very special: they created a portal for other technology to become mainstream.
Consumer demand is soaring to new heights every day with the promise of new technology. Ewan Spence of Forbes wrote in July that the iPhone 8 has already beaten its competition two months before it’s even released. How does Apple achieve this feat? How can your business stay ahead when there are remarkable innovations being shared left and right? At its height, Pokémon Go had over 20 million daily active users, but Niantic’s issue wasn’t attraction, it was retention. Those users slowly trickled off into other apps and shifted their attention elsewhere.
So how does a brand plan for the longevity of its consumers? How can you keep up with the demand of the growing consumer market? Let’s break it down.
What Is the Impact of Changing Consumer Demand in the IT Industry?
The internet is like water for consumers today, life sustaining. In McKinsey & Company’s report on Trends that will Shape the Consumer Goods Industry, they note:
“In figuring out how to win in this new digital world, CPG companies face some major strategic questions—including how to build a successful business through online retail channels, how to build brands and categories in a socially networked world, and how to exploit technology-driven opportunities to understand consumers more deeply and connect with them more often. ”
Today, there are nearly 4 billion internet users and millions more join the worldwide web every day. The list of who, what, when, how, and why to engage online just keeps growing and it can seem daunting to even log in and find out. However, the harsh reality of being a business in the Digital Age is that your team needs to suck it up and stick it out! Even Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg , knew that staying online was essential to building his social media empire.
How Can You Meet This Changing Demand without Sacrificing Quality?
Quality versus quantity has always been a tricky spot to navigate. Take the food industry for example; small farmers who peddle organically grown crops get more popular as the organic movement gains momentum. When there are hundreds more people seeking to buy your product, how do these small businesses keep their integrity while making a profit? Here are a couple ways your team can meet the demand of your expanding consumer base.
Perk Your Ears
Staying online and keeping your nose to the ground is how your team will stay connected to your consumers. High demand may force your business to think more creatively about how you will meet needs, but if you’re actively listening to the critiques and advice of your users, it won’t be hard to figure out where you need to improve.
92% of consumers read online reviews and 80% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. Take their words to heart and consider how you can leverage this information to make your business stronger. The double-edged sword of the online world works in your favor in this instance because there’s a literal roadmap of reviews your team can follow to success.
Show TLC to Your Team
Your team is a very valuable primary source of information and creativity! Keeping collaboration alive and promoting innovation will help your brand immensely. Emphasize team projects that will give them the opportunity to throw around ideas about how to better service your customers and expand your brand’s reach.
Approaching issues with a team mindset that looks to create a better outcome for the business is how you’ll keep your brand’s essence. Google’s 20% time rule has birthed some of their most lucrative applications (Gmail, AdSense, Google Transit) that millions of people use today. Technology is all about innovation, so allow your team the freedom to think and create for the betterment of your consumers and your brand.
Triple Threat: Data Driven Decisions
Make decisions based on your data. Like reviews, your data gives you a roadmap for how your business can achieve success. In a report done by The National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine, they write:
“Policy makers and the research community would be well served by data collection designed to support longitudinal tracking and analysis of workforce trends and the role of advances in IT. ”
It isn’t enough to just have piles of data that trend in one way or another, your team needs to be able to analyze and make decisions about the long term by looking at the information hidden in the numbers. Read between the lines and work to see where consumers are responding and where they aren’t. Make your decisions based in fact to produce the results you want for next quarter, the quarter after, and the one after that!
For the People
It can be scary to think that one day your business will be deemed irrelevant by consumers. Suddenly, the want or need isn’t there anymore or a shift in demand happens for a newer product or brand. The consumer market is much like evolution, your business needs to adapt or face the risk of dying out. You can stave off that feeling of anxiety by keeping up with your users and making decisions that help you plan for the long term. Let’s look at exactly how one more time:
- Listen to what your consumers have to say by taking their reviews seriously.
- Give your team the opportunity to collaborate and innovate for the betterment of your business.
- Make decisions based in the data that is presented to you. Analyze the numbers to prepare your team for the quarters to come!