Recognising the signs of disruption
Disruption: It’s become the latest buzzword in business, and is likely being heard with increasing regularity in every boardroom across Australia – and so it should be, because no industry or business is impervious to it.
In recent years, entire industries have been disrupted at a rapid rate.
Take the taxi industry in Australia for example, which is still grappling with how to compete with Uber, five years after the ride-sharing service disrupted what had been a captive market. Or AirBNB, which has shaken up the rules when it comes to managing holiday rentals.
Subscription Video on Demand services such as Netflix are also disrupting free-to-air television, by giving viewers the flexibility to watch their favourite shows whenever and wherever they want.
And with more than seven million subscribers – representing one in three Australians – the platform is showing no signs of slowing its disruptive streak. According to Roy Morgan Research, Netflix recorded a 20 per cent jump in household subscriptions between December 2016 and March 2017 alone.
While new technology plays a central role in disrupting industries or businesses, it’s often the offer of an enhanced user experience that is the key to success.
Digital marketing company Alyka explored this topic in a recent podcast with special guest Charlie Gunningham, Founder of Damburst. Here’s a summary of three key insights from their discussion.
What can businesses learn from disruption?
1. Don’t be complacent
Consumer behaviour is changing. We want information fast and we want to be able to access it wherever we are, whenever we want and on the device of our choosing. Younger generations aren’t picking up magazines or watching free-to-air TV: they’re reading news on social media and binge-watching TV shows through subscription services.
Therefore it should come as no surprise that improving customer experience, or solving a common problem, is often at the heart of any major disruption. It’s a lesson for every business – consumers are changing, and businesses must evolve with them.
Charlie Gunningham suggested businesses should actually be most nervous when they’re doing well, because they lose sight of the disruptive activity that might be creeping up on them. A profitable business can also be an indicator to entrepreneurs that there is money to be made in an industry if a better service or product can be offered.
2. Embrace problems
How do you avoid being disrupted? Solving problems for your customers and improving user experience at every touchpoint in the consumer journey is a great starting point.
To reference the rise of Uber again: it didn’t offer a vastly different product to the taxi industry, but it did offer an improved customer experience, making it easier, cheaper and more convenient to find a ride.
But better customer service won’t always win. That’s why, according to Charlie Gunningham, businesses should always maintain focus on the problem they are trying to solve, rather than getting too caught up in the fancy product they’ve created.
3. Use digital disruption to your advantage
The imminent introduction of Amazon in Australia will see the internet shopping giant compete with major established players, and is expected to cause major disruption in the already struggling retail sector.
But rather than be threatened by Amazon, Alyka Director Zion Ong believes local retailers should invest in improving the customer experience on their websites, while also mastering the art of selling on Amazon to maximise the benefits of this disruption.
Where possible, businesses should also identify opportunities to benefit from the plethora of new technologies, products and solutions, such as robots and artificial intelligence that are coming on to the market.
With the growing success and popularity of companies like Tesla, all eyes are now focused on the emergence of autonomous vehicles and anticipating the significant impact it will have on the world as we know it.
To listen to the podcast, visit: https://soundcloud.com/askalyka/ask-alyka-episode-6-charlie-gunningham