STAMINA STRENGTH: The Ways Technology Will Revolutionize Offline business

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Ways Technology Will Revolutionize Offline business

The revolution is the seismic shift in where, when and how consumers interact with the sellers and service providers in these industries. While some industries have already completely transformed and been subject to huge amounts of tech innovation and big-time financial investments, others are in various stages of technology transformation and the winners and losers of the revolution are not yet known.

Technology will revolutionize all traditional "offline" industries.

When will the next revolutions occur in the remaining "vulnerable" industries? And which incumbent companies will survive the revolution?

Today, consumers are far more comfortable purchasing products or services that they perceive to be suited to their unique needs and preferences. The revolution is near when technology introduces this dynamic to buyers.

Personalization comes in many shapes and forms. The revolution only occurs when products or services in the industry become tailored to the specific interests of different buyers. Buyers' interests are often mined via advanced algorithms that leverage the huge amounts of data we're constantly (often inadvertently) sharing; other platforms leverage the data that we purposely share in exchange for a perceived benefit.

Decades ago, large-scale production and national expansion of brands in offline industries led to mass marketing. Sellers used statistics to communicate broadly about their services and products, generally targeting the most "typical" consumer for their product. The problem is that no consumer is the typical consumer.

I believe the revolution occurs when tech platforms introduce two key dynamics to an offline industry: personalization and symmetry.

Take a look at a traditional offline industry: relocation. Moving companies, cable companies, utility companies and the dozens of other companies that you need to deal with when you move all traditionally mass-marketed to relocating consumers.

They're on my side!
As a consumer, there's an unfortunate dynamic when you buy something: The seller often has more information or control than you. "Offline" industries transform when technology bridges the gap.

They know me better than I know myself.
Consumer-facing industries transform when technology increases personalization-- the kind of personalization that surprises and delights the consumer, like when Netflix reminds you that you have new episodes of your favorite show available.

Consumers love products that make them feel that they're engaged in a fair transaction, a symmetrical one. Products that revolutionize industries achieve this in one of two ways:

Technology delivers transformative simplicity and efficiency. It's become more symmetrical than the offline alternative.

The revolution only occurs when products or services in the industry become tailored to the specific interests of different buyers. Revolutions don't just occur in consumer-facing industries. Of course, different dynamics lead to revolutions in enterprise (or B2B) industries, such as when new tech interfaces "consumerize" and simplify archaic processes.

You say you want a revolution.
Tech companies seeking to revolutionize an offline industry need to focus on promoting long overdue personalization and increased symmetry for customers. The goal should be to deliver these dynamics and, as a result, create an experience that consumers absolutely love--- and the consumers will then expect that same great experience for future transactions.

Businesses that will survive a revolution must have a strategy that is not just about having a social presence or enabling online shopping. Rather, they need to recognize that the experience consumers now demand has radically shifted. In this new world order, the winners are organizations that are agile enough to respond to the new consumer demand and satisfy their needs-- either through their own technology or by working with new tech platforms.

Incumbent corporations are increasingly recognizing the disruptive force of new tech platforms that can quickly change the paradigm in their industry. Many corporates have shifted their technology investments to the forefront of business strategy, and the number of active corporate VCs has exploded, growing nearly five times in the past 10 years. These companies are adjusting their strategies to be at the forefront of the next revolution, or at least own a stake in it.

Revolutions don't just occur in consumer-facing industries. Of course, different dynamics lead to revolutions in enterprise (or B2B) industries, such as when new tech interfaces "consumerize" and simplify archaic processes. Robots and other forms of automation are leading to revolutions in heavy industry.

These technology revolutions, across all types of industries, present great opportunities for the companies that react quickly and get onboard, but can devastate companies that don't.

The revolution is the seismic shift in where, when and how consumers interact with the sellers and service providers in these industries. While some industries have already completely transformed and been subject to huge amounts of tech innovation and big-time financial investments, others are in various stages of technology transformation and the winners and losers of the revolution are not yet known.

Asymmetry occurs in various ways across a host of industries. In the relocation industry, for example, there's asymmetry when a moving company provides a price estimate and the prospective customer has minimal insight into how that price was generated and the quality of the service relative to other moving companies. Additionally, asymmetry can occur when dealing with home service providers such as cable or satellite TV companies-- pricing is complex, there are often hidden fees and the consumer is unable to easily compare apples to apples across various providers.

Technology helps the buyer make a more informed decision. If I don't like what I see, I refine the search and receive new options instantly.

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