“What new technology does is create new opportunities to do a job that customers want done.” – Tim O’Reilly
Fast Moving Consumer Services
It is the age of “clicks”, “pace” and “engagement” – Consumers want things to happen at the click of a button, or the swipe of a screen if you will. Brand and product marketers who were quick to jump aboard the transition train from the conventional brick and mortar platform to more new age channels and interfaces have benefited the most by their first mover advantage. They had recognized inherent consumer needs sooner and played their brands and offerings right to stay in the game. The reality is that retailers aren’t limited to being just retailers anymore – just like we researchers aren’t seen as just data providers anymore.
Ever wondered why or how your smart phone or tablet throws an offer at you when it knows you’re in the vicinity of a retail house or a mall (thanks to LBS -Location based services) or how you get a product of interest popping up while you’re playing on your videogame or browsing on social media. Marketers aim to be there in the spur of the moment to catch / remind / interact with consumers during the entire decision making or purchasing process. These are just a few examples, but these innovative services provided by this new breed of retailers – marketers – interfaces – or whoever is called a Fast Moving Consumer Service. The service is unique because it does not just help facilitate and propel businesses but also leverages consumer convenience. All the bare necessities at just the push of a button… literally. An absolute Win-Win.
So what does a Fast Moving Consumer Service give you that a normal service doesn’t?
You click a button and you have your cab waiting at your door (uber) or your monthly groceries at your doorstep (Amazon Dash) or you could catch up with that show or game you missed last week (Xfinity App). All of this and a plethora of other interfaces – apps – devices out there that are enabling and engaging with consumers incessantly. This whole construct is built around consumers to “lock-in” or “entrench” them at different levels by constant reinvention while providing the biggest unique selling point of them all – CONVENIENCE!
Why have Fast Moving Consumer Services grown so big – so suddenly?
In our age of multi-modal devices, apps and platforms have helped escalate these services at breakneck speed. Being a quantitative researcher, let me validate my statements with numbers. Amazon saw a growth of 20% YOY over the last 3 years and that wouldn’t have happened if Amazon sat back on its existing accolades – they would have been just another eBay or any other e-commerce site that is either spiralling downward or fighting competition with marginal growth or may have even disappeared. Amazon did everything from releasing a Prime offering which opens up a suite of products for consumers to a Dash (clicker) for groceries to an Echo (for music aficionados) and they are still coming up with stuff as we speak.
Let us take a look at Uber who made 100% of its last year’s revenue in the 1st 4 months of this year. How did they achieve this? Companies like Uber are reinventing their offering (by going multi-platform) and multi-offering (Uber Black) which has given them a first mover advantage and stay ahead of other such cab services like Lyft, MYTaxi etc. That says something!
Where is the future of Fast Moving Consumer Services headed?
It doesn’t stop there – even with bigger commodities like “buying a house”, “buying a car”, “buying a durable”, “buying a” ….. let me stop. You get my drift. Take Zillow (for homes) for instance – just get the app on your device and they send you reminders on your device, give you virtual tours of homes, connect you to realtors and prospective buyers. Cars.com or Autotrader do the same for automobiles based on your needs and requirements.
What was once a consumer’s “delight quotient” or “latent need” is now a “must have” and has changed the landscape. As expected, this phenomenon is a lot more evolved in the developed markets while developing and under developed markets still present a sea of opportunity.
“Keep up or get left behind”: There is a reason why brands which were once powerful like K-mart, Dominick’s, Radioshack etc. aren’t top guns anymore. While their product offering was amazing, they weren’t constantly enhancing, reinventing and rehashing themselves or their service offering. In today’s dynamic transaction system that is probably more important than the product offering itself, thereby losing out to newcomers as well as those better able to adapt to the new paradigm.
Ipsos understands this changing landscape and has seamlessly adapted to this by producing a suite of market research “goods” coupled with supported “services” for both clients and respondents by moving our research designs and survey experiences to device-agnostic platforms. This is why we’re pioneers in the mobile and digital space and we’re constantly adapting the experience to suit this environment (e.g. the swipe stimulus) to reach and allow every possible consumer profile – irrespective of the platform, channel or region.
James Cameron, in his movie Terminator was showcasing how machines will govern us in the near future – I would say that future is already here, and while machines are the interface, these “APPs” have became more “APP”licable than ever before (pun).