3 Oct 2018, 09:35 — 4 min read
The globe is going through a revolution. If early 2000 was all about technology revolution, 2020 would be about consumers and whom they would choose to be the rulers of the commercial world.
Never in the history of mankind did the consuming population of the world have the kind of power and smartness that they enjoy today. Smartphones coupled with the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has compelled every consumer facing company to become extremely customer-centric. I say that customers are the kingmakers and we live in an era of customer revolution for the following reasons:
1. Smartphones: The discovery phase of shopping is increasingly on digital searches. 85% of 50,000 customers contacted by Retailers Association of India in 2017 were clear that they do online searches before choosing what and where they want to buy items. Social media, customer reference sites and various aggregator sites help customers to get smarter even before they enter a store or an e-commerce website.
2. Know me: Every customer expects retailers (online or offline) to recognise them and make intelligent offers to them at the right time and at the price and place that makes them comfortable. Convenience is taken for granted.
3. Data Privacy: While customers want to be recognised, they do not want to be overloaded with unsolicited offers and do not want their data to be compromised. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) norms and also the new rulings around Aadhaar numbers in India are all indicative of data privacy requirements of customers.
4. Value and valuations to the beholder of data: This can become increasingly interesting. Large valuations are no doubt being achieved by those companies that seems to have data of customers and companies like Amazon are becoming most valued in the world. The fact that aggregators like Ola, Zomato, Uber, Amazon, Alibaba etc. are highly valued companies is backing up this understanding of which company will rule the valuation game. Paytm is slowly becoming a bank, a mutual fund agent, a share market broker, a retail services aggregator and so on. Telecom data service providers across the world are increasingly trying to redesign themselves as the biggest aggregators themselves and thus create value for customers and valuations for themselves. Jio by Reliance could well be on its way to become very big thanks to this. Search engines like Google too are in the race since they too claim to know the customers.
All these digitally powered enterprises are morphing themselves into customer-centric conglomerates and definitely structuring themselves to be the bank, the insurance broker, the data provider, the retailer, the travel agent, the custom fit manufacturer etc. It is the age for customers to be increasingly demanding and the really valued enterprises to know what every customer wants. Every customer is important and every moment of truth of the customer means value. Welcome to the power of one.
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Posted byKumar Rajagopalan
chartered accountant, CEO retailers association of India, retailer