Seven years ago, I was giving a talk to a business group and the discussion was centred around customer experience and how this was going to change with technology. At the time I mentioned that I could see a high street where shops were about experience and not just making a purchase. I also raised the possibility of a cashless shop where everything was done on the phone and indeed no goods were taken. The results being a customer could visit a shop, browse and select what they wanted and have it delivered, either to the car or to home that day.
Now with Amazon’s latest news, https://goo.gl/ojDWbq my vision is becoming reality, if only M&S had listened to me when I was on their graduate scheme many years ago, they might not be in the mess they are now.
However, that is not the reason for this post, my main reason is the speed with which companies are adapting to changes in consumer behaviour. A lot of my work is with software business of various types and the difference I see in how these businesses are adapting is staggering, from some who are talking about complete digital journeys to those who are only just promoting cloud based services.
Whilst I fully accept that larger organisations are a bit like a tanker and take longer to adapt, but they also have bigger r&d departments and should start the change earlier.
The results are easy to see and when it comes to retail the results have an immediate and massive impact on potential customers.
Amazon have long been innovative looking at news ways to increase their presence and customer service, some not so great, but they will always try something new. M&S are the total opposite, they are stuck in the belief that their customers still want the same as they have always had both in terms of fashion and service, well look at who is most successful. M&S have a history of failing to adapt and once again they are struggling as a result.
It’s not often I get a chance to say it, but “I told you so”.