At the recent EDGE Alumni breakfast, hosted by ARN, the leading voice in customer centricity and digital transformation, Nancy Rademaker, spoke about how the changing profile of consumers – their changing tastes, behaviours and attitudes – is disrupting incumbent businesses.
“Customer characteristics have changed,” Rademaker said, as she outlined the acronym C.U.S.T.O.M.E.R, which highlights eight shifts in consumer perception and behaviour that businesses need to adapt to in order to retain their competitive edge.
“M” is for mindful
Anyone that follows the music industry has seen an interesting phenomenon over the last couple of years – in a world where people can access millions of songs at a time through Spotify or iTunes Music, vinyl sales have been rising (up 12 per cent in 2018), and even the humble cassette is making a comeback (up 19 per cent in 2018).
It’s not just nostalgia that is driving consumer behaviour against technology-driven convenience and service. Minimalism is also another observable consumer trend that appears to buck technology-driven trends. For example, in Japan, a bookstore called Morioka Shoten sells only one book. It rotates the book it sells each week, but when you walk into the shop there’s a single book for sale. Why would this be a successful business model in an era where Amazon consumers are one click away from hundreds of thousands of books? It’s another trait in the modern consumer, which Rademaker terms “mindful.”
“It is proof that digitisation has hit us so hard, and the constant pressure that we feel from all of these possibilities, sometimes we need the time to detox from everything,” Rademaker said.
Consumers are mindful with technology, too. Two modern typewriters, Freewrite and AlphaSmart, are sold on the promise of “distraction free writing” – you get a small screen for text, but little more than that. There’s no web browser, no social media, and no distractions. Those typewriters have proven to be incredibly popular; Freewrite alone has raised more than $1 million in crowdfunding.
The consumer’s new mindfulness highlights an ongoing desire for simplicity. As the technology we use becomes increasingly complex, providing solutions that can simplify to the point of elegance will also go down well with customers.
In the next article, breaking down the consumer, Rademaker outlines how the modern consumer has become more ethical.