Adapting to Consumer Change Isn't Always Easy

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Earlier this month, Whole Foods announced its plan to open new lower-priced stores next year aimed at Millennials. The new stores will cater to the younger generation of consumers who don't have the disposable income to spend at the chain, nicknamed "Whole Paycheck." Co-CEO Walter Robb said the stores also will have "modern, streamlined design, innovative technology, and a curated selection."
Customer Engagement

Earlier this month, Whole Foods announced its plan to open new lower-priced stores next year aimed at Millennials. The new stores will cater to the younger generation of consumers who don't have the disposable income to spend at the chain, nicknamed "Whole Paycheck." Co-CEO Walter Robb said the stores also will have "modern, streamlined design, innovative technology, and a curated selection."

Whole Foods, like retailers everywhere, is aware of the changes to its businesses brought on by new technologies and consumers' changing shopping habits. To stay competitive, the chain decided that it must adapt.

That's not always the case. Earlier this month, I hailed a taxi in San Diego during a conference. Realizing I had no cash, I asked the driver if he accepted credit cards. He sighed, mumbled something under his breath, and told me if I had to use one, then fine, but he'd prefer cash instead. He proceeded to complain some more after I eventually swiped my card at the end of the ride. Attitudes like my driver's signifies a decreasing market share against ride service companies like Uber and Lyft that cater to the mobile customer.

Similarly, many companies remain stuck in their old systems, strategies, and processes. To stay in business, they must adapt to consumers' changing behaviors and expectations. How should they start evolving?

The first priority is to make sure there's an executive in charge of the customer experience. Then analyze and discuss customer insights about what they want from their experiences with your brand. Next, lay out your new vision and include cross teams in the planning. Next appoint a team to oversee any new changes across the enterprise. Don't forget to establish metrics, and always continue to examine the data and make tweaks along the way. Remember, it's a journey, not a destination.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION