5 survival tips to safeguarding your consumer-facing business

Consumer-facing companies must change how they are transforming their businesses and take bold steps in order to remain relevant to the data and technology-enabled smart consumer, said the latest report by EY FutureConsumer.Now.  Kristina Rogers, EY Global Consumer Leader, said, “The thinking that has guided consumer-facing industries for decades is not the thinking that will enable them to succeed going forward.”

Rogers added that while most companies are taking action to meet short-term goals, they also need to understand the big technological shifts and consumer trends that stand to radically transform their industry and business.

“It’s vital that businesses grasp the fundamentally different expectations, wants and needs of the future consumer,” he added. Stemming from the research, EY offers the following recommendations for consumer-facing companies to address the five business imperatives:

Challenge every assumption

Agile market entrants are using technology and new routes to market to challenge incumbent business models, yet most companies are trying to protect legacy businesses by leveraging scale and chasing incremental improvements. Companies will need to address three requirements: maximise the declining benefits of existing business models to fund transformation; build on current capabilities in ways that drive new business models and create new capabilities that enable a pivot into new opportunities.

Choose your tribe

Companies that take leadership on the values and concerns of the stakeholders that matter most to their business, their tribe, will gain competitive advantage. By differentiating on their purpose and embedding it across every facet of their organisation, business stand to form deep, lasting, and profitable connections with consumers, talent and other stakeholders.

Win every micro-moment

Technology-empowered consumers will increasingly purchase goods, services and experiences in “micro-moments,” without a preference for a platform they use. Companies will need to customise and adapt what products they offer, at what price and when they offer them as consumers make purchasing decisions in split seconds, regardless of brand.

Deliver measurable outcomes

As technology provides the consumer with more insight on purchases than ever before, generalised brand promises will become redundant as consumers demand more measurable, personalized outcomes that go beyond the key benefits of the product or service. The smart consumers of the future will have total transparency about the quantifiable consequence of every purchase and consumption choice they make. Companies can show the transparent, positive impact of their product or service in order to better appeal to their target consumers.

Master the ecosystem

As new technologies and business models disrupt established value chains, successful consumer-facing companies will seize new opportunities based on where and how they can add value. Companies need to identify the consumer-centric ecosystem they want to create and decide where in this ecosystem they want to play.

Chandan Joshi, EY Asean and global emerging markets, Consumer Products & Retail Leader, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP, added, “While the future is still evolving, companies that develop a point of view about a ‘preferable future’ have a better chance to steer themselves towards it than those that don’t.”

Andrew Cosgrove, EY global consumer lead Analyst, added that consumer-facing companies have been confronting disruption for a decade. However, given the exponential speed of change, achieving relevance requires companies to anticipate the probable, possible and plausible consumer needs of the future to shape a preferable future for their business.

The FutureConsumer.Now imperatives are a result of qualitative research work with more than 200 business leaders, futurists and professionals from a variety of different industries for over a year to create a 360-degree view of what the future consumer could look like, and what this will mean for companies today.