The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, "Change is the only constant." And rightfully so, the world has been evolving in multiple ways since the very beginning of time. The different periods in history, all with different characteristics, exemplify evolution.
At this point, while we are facing a bigger worldwide shift due to the Covid-19 pandemic, smaller changes in consumers' tastes and preferences have been continuous and significant. To keep up with that, businesses need to come up with innovative ideas to be able to serve the changing demands of customers. If they are unable to do that, organisations are then left with the risk of losses, leading to an eventual demolition of the business.
The necessity of innovation often comes in with the need to drive change. The most relevant example of change in consumer tastes lies in the recent events of movement restrictions during the pandemic. With the risk of contracting the virus, going outside was minimised. This gave rise to the preference for online shopping and e-commerce websites, creating a digital shopping ecosystem. In efforts to survive, many brick-and-mortar shops have also resorted to the option of online selling.
From a broader perspective, we can take the example of Apple. There was a time when Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy. But innovation and newer ideas saved them. They introduced the iMac, iPod, and iPad, creating a stir in the tech industry. Since then, the stock prices kept going upwards, and their products started becoming instant hits.
Moreover, recently Facebook has also changed their parent organisation's name to 'Meta' and announced the 'Metaverse' to eventually anchor the world towards the concept of total virtual connectivity. All of these changes in such big brands have been made in order to innovate and grow their companies.
Companies innovate to keep consumers happy by always offering something new to them. Basically, it is targeted towards the enhancement of customer experience. Brands and manufacturers are always trying to figure out what the consumers expect from them. They are drawing out numbers, plotting out graphs, and speculating whatever consumers want from them as a company because consumers, by default, are entitled to that position of authority.
On top of that, people nowadays have become more aware of making conscious purchasing decisions, making it more important for firms to ensure the quality and freshness of products. This creates a lasting impact by creating goodwill, which is quite an important asset for increasing the valuation of companies. Hence, a positive consumer reputation, though an intangible asset, leads to a prospective future.
If brands aspire to grow, they have to pay significant attention to client retention and to maintain that, it is crucial to nurture customer relationships in all ways possible. If companies lose clients or customers due to sticking to outdated services and products, they may eventually lose all their revenue and plunge into an abyss, despite their underlying potentials.
On that account, providing top-notch service with a touch of newness should be a priority for all brands. In this data-driven era, with some technical knowledge and a few clicks, it is very much possible to figure out what consumers prefer or do not prefer.
From my personal experience, I would say that most people nowadays tend to choose rather personalised and customised experiences. And the latest technology enables organisations to provide such personalised support.
As brand practitioners, we should make proper use of the opportunity and provide the customers with exactly what they want. The digital transformation in today's era allows brands to efficiently point out customer preferences and work according to that.
Enhancement of any kind brings a positive attitude, and as brands enhance themselves according to consumer tastes, it is bound to make consumers happier, improving the way brands are perceived. With the increasing popularity of online shopping, the availability of reviews and ratings have made it easier for consumers to make more calculated purchasing decisions.
Hence, even if there is one unhappy customer, a negative review has the power to spread like wildfire. That review will be read by many other potential customers while reaching many more through word-of-mouth. This may lead to an exponential decline in customers, making it hard for the company to attract new customers or even retain older ones.
On the other hand, if the company provides something new, it has the potential to create hype and attract a number of customers through reviews and ratings. In this way, uniqueness and innovation play a significant role in enhancing brand reputation.
As consumers are always looking for excitement and newness, a reputation that 'the brand always offers something new' will continue to draw in more and more customers over time.
It may get tough for people to make the right decisions when transactions are done through screens, but that does not resort to action. This may, in turn, lead to a lack of loyal customers, which ultimately creates negativity regarding the entire e-commerce ecosystem. Hence, especially for online shops and virtual market platforms, it is essential to provide unique products and adopt innovative approaches in making important decisions.
Innovation is a step towards revolutionising an entire industry, and at this moment, this is crucial for our e-commerce industry to grow by staying relevant.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.