There are only very few business or ventures where the company has a monopoly and no other entrants exist. Earlier this was quite common in government sectors and most of them enjoyed a monopoly. With the advent of the MRTP act (Monopoly and Restrictive Trade Practice act) companies could no longer enjoy a monopoly in the market, competition was encouraged and the foray of private companies made competition more intense.
Companies still continue to enjoy a bigger market share due to factors like first mover advantage or by investing in futuristic technologies, however these are all acceptable. Currently the business world has become very competitive and each company is trying to outsmart the other by bringing some competitive edge in the way they operate.
Some of the key ways to edge out competition are:
- Product :quality or the features
- Service :After sales service and customer service
- Technology: How new processes change and technological advantage
- Cost: There should be some price advantage or there should be some factor that would entice customers to pay more
- Availability: Product production, availability and accessibility
- Speed: Production and Delivery speed
With the emergence of ecommerce and new players in the market cost, availability and speed are factors which customer takes for granted so they don’t become differentiators. Customers would pay little higher for a specific feature, service or for the technology which he/ she finds suitable towards his requirement. Amongst these technology and service would qualify as one of the key differentiators to surpass competition. A classic case with one of the retail brand which though was not first choice, was able to garner loyalty with just the service they offered. The first visit was quick fast and easy. The second visit however was hyper-personalised based on the data garnered in the first visit. Staff were able to remember the minutest of details like size, colour preferences etc which fostered loyalty and brand preferences.
Now with big data and micro data it is easy to understand the journey the customer is taking and all the foot prints the customer leaves can be pulled together to make meaningful insights. These insights can be used for actionable analytics and predictions based on this companies can proactively intervene or solve an issue for a customer to create delight. The changes that we experience around us influences us as a consumer and the technology in this front would always take a lead. The technological changes need to be implemented for better functioning as they would bring down the cost of operation and create differentiators in the market. The future market would all be classified on customer experience and preferences and brands need to know that. They should be able to predict in advance the subtle changes happening in customer preferences, so that they can incorporate those changes in their products. This can create first mover advantage and go a long way to contributing to a bigger market share and better customer experience.
There are several cases of brands who have failed due to their reluctance in adopting a new technology or refusal to incorporate customer preferences. The case of a leading mobile phone manufacturer that failed due to its reluctance to jump on the Android bandwagon. Or the CD manufacturer who lost market as it did not keep up with the changing customer preference to bigger storage needs. There are several such case stories which emphasize the importance of understanding customer preferences and bringing new technologies to manage the same. It would be wise for brands to learn from these and factor in the key factors to surpass competition.
Sandeep K T
Telecom Professional & Analytics