We see things changing all around us at warp speed. Artificial intelligence, rapidly developing technology, apps for almost every need, smart appliances, and other innovations are revolutionizing the way we live and do business. Even our children’s brains are being rewired in the digital age. Kids today simply learn differently now than we did back then.
The benefit from all these technological marvels and innovation? Well, for one: convenience.
You can see it in the way businesses have sprung up literally overnight, leveraging the smart phone in almost every person’s hand as a gateway to personally-tailored profits. Americans are exceedingly industrious and busy people, and they require services that adapt to not only their needs but how those needs are met.
One prime example of this would be the vast array of home delivery groceries and meals that pepper social media and cable TV with ads galore. Claims of being “less than a trip to the grocery store” with farm-fresh ingredients (or even fully prepared meals) delivered right to your doorstep is a reward almost too good to resist.
There are all kinds of special diets catered to as well – paleo, keto, vegan, or just omnivorous clean eating, inspiring people to eat at home (and thus avoiding the unhealthy options at the local drive-thru).
Right now, despite the number of innovative small startups offering home delivery for just about anything, Amazon (who basically started the home delivery convenience revolution) dominates the sphere with shameless abandon. Free 2-day shipping and an endless variety of products keep online consumers coming back for more and more.
Despite ongoing criticism on its light-speed business model and rumored “challenging” working conditions, Amazon continues to lead the charge by responding to the demand from consumers to meet them where they stand – and by demolishing most other retailers on price (even Wal-Mart in some instances).
It isn’t just convenience that tech growth has spurred in terms of changes to the market landscape. With the advent of social media, consumers are more empowered than ever to voice their praise or concerns on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other well-known platforms available to the general public. Gone are the days when big businesses could sweep complaints under the carpet. Consumers have found a bullhorn of sorts with social media and product reviews, and they have no problem using it.
In our own business, we’ve innovated this trend by offering our own product review sites where customers can write unedited and honest reviews of items they have purchased from us. It’s been a great tool of transparency and has allowed prospective customers to read what people are saying about a product before making an informed buying decision.
Continuing to honor the spirit of convenience, we have also grabbed hold of savvy modern tech innovations to serve our customers better. We of course still have email and phone support, but have added a chat box to all our product sites to provide customers yet another way to communicate with us, without waiting on hold or for a reply by email. While our market demographic will never be Amazon’s, we strive to heed the call of “meeting our customers where they are” to offer them accessible, thorough, and exemplary customer service.
In this new “Age of Amazon” the changes are exciting, but human beings have not changed intrinsically all that much. Emerging tech and the tools of convenience that spring forth from it can offer new pathways to profit, but you will always need competent and professional staff to manage it all. The way we serve may change, but the time tested values of real service will not.
Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for the sound advice of a business professional with expertise in the subject matter discussed. Please seek appropriate counsel on what strategies make sense for your business.