Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Consumer trends and the strategic environment

Relevance

The topic for this week was analyzing the external market environment and the industry dynamics to see how they ultimately influence the strategy for a decision maker in a company.

I found another set of 10 consumer trends that are very interesting: http://www.trendwatching.com/trends/10trends2013/

The 10 consumer trends of 2013 (not ranked by any method)

1. Connecting the consumer closer to the product/service in terms of design, endorsement, and process: crowdfunding that blends the role of customer and owner & greater consumer engagement in regards to product development

2. Companies in Emerging Markets making more products/services for Emerging Markets (as opposed to being the traditional producer for wealthy Western nations)

3. Maximizing value of every minute in every day via mobile moments defined by micro-convenience and mini-experience

4. Products with eco-application

5. Mobile solutions within medical care

6. Nationalistic products from Emerging Markets

7. Personalized and meaningful application of Big Data in products/services

8. Slow return of local manufacturing for Western countries

9.  "Nothing to hide" campaigns that discloses more information to consumers

10. Social-conscious brands asking for consumers to contribute meaningfully in ways beyond just a purchase

My focus will be on the first trend: connecting the consumer closer to the product/service.

Significance

Product/service development can from either an established company or a startup with the key difference between them being the depth of their pockets. With the advent of crowdfunding and the greater technological connection of consumers, aspiring entrepreneurs have lower financial barriers and greater access to different capital, leading to a higher democratization of market entry for new products/services.

This has significant impact on simple retail goods such as clothing where average consumers can fund and buy the product if they feel strongly enough for it. The example provided by TrendWatching is a Hong Kong based social fashion company, ZaoZao.

https://www.shopzaozao.com/general/about-us

This concept is new but not that new since many people could probably list five more examples of different social consumer goods that follow the same concept. However what is novel is my next example that illustrates how this trend is being picked up by a larger company in regards to making the consumers add more skin into the game if they truly want customized and personal products/services.

Barclays is a major global financial service provider in personal banking, credit cards, and etc. It released a recent credit card product (Barclaycard Ring) that allows you and community members to propose and vote for ways the credit card will function. I personally have not heard of any product like this where consumers have such a strong influence on the stipulations of a credit card product.

http://www.barclaycardring.com/

Question

All consumer goods company will love to have its customers to feel as if the product/service they purchased was made just for them. In that respect, to what degree can Barclay's example be extrapolated and copied to different products? What are the limitations?




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