The 21st century represents a watershed era for retailers and business owners. Old business models that have stood the test of time are disappearing, with icons like Sears and J.C. Penney teetering on the brink.
At the same time, a new age of online retailers and service providers has risen, with companies like Amazon and Netflix taking the lead. So what can business owners and retailers learn from this shift in the sands of retail? What takeaways can sellers take from the changes in customer behavior?
In the world of 21st-century commerce, it is not enough to provide great products and exceptional customer service. While important, those two essential elements of business success have become a given – the basic expectations of customers who are accustomed to free shipping, fast delivery and other perks.
Distinguishing Yourself in the Age of Extreme Competition
If you want to distinguish yourself in this brave new world, you need to go further. The current landscape is competitive in the extreme, and it is not easy for newcomers to break out of the pack. Even so, it can be done, and every current success story was once a total unknown. Learning from the triumphs and missteps of others can help those future business leaders build great brands.
Recognizing the nature of competition in the 21st century is one of the prerequisites of success. Understanding that the old rules no longer apply is as good place to start as any, and this recognition could mean the difference between success and failure.
Tell a Compelling Company Story
One of the distinguishing features of the 21st-century consumer is their discernment. Customers are no longer content to buy great products – they want to believe in the businesses they buy from.
In the 21st-century, customers can quickly become avid fans, or rapid detractors. Business owners must tread carefully in this difficult arena, but there is a road to success.
The most successful companies are able to tell a compelling company story, one that incorporates hard work, creativity and no small amount of luck. Think about the companies you admire and the entrepreneurs you look up to – you are sure to recognize the importance of a compelling origin story.
Tell the Truth
Telling a compelling company story is a vital part of success in the 21st century, but shading the truth could be deadly to your business. It can be tempting to exaggerate your successes or minimize the contributions of those who helped along the way, but such untruths are easy enough to uncover in the digital age.
Indeed, telling a company story that is less than honest could be worse than telling no story at all. So, think carefully about the teachers who believed in you, the mentor who took you under his or her wing and the early adopters who believed in your vision. Giving each of these individuals their due is as much a part of your origin story as your current and future success.
Building a great brand has never been more difficult, or more important. In the 21st century, customers are looking for more than great products and exception service – they want to believe in the companies they do business with, and making your company stand out could drive your success no matter how difficult the landscape becomes.