It’s 2014 and consumers are not who they used to be. The average consumer spends a large portion connected and online and expect their favourite brands to do the same.
One of the biggest challenges SMEs face is meeting the needs of the 21st century consumer and adapting to their lifestyles – if not, they risk losing them.
“SMEs are under pressure to adapt to the needs of 21st century consumers,” say Sanjeev Orie, CEO of FNB Business Value-Adds.
According to Orie, 21st century businesses are those that because of increasing economic pressure, have adapted to the needs of the consumer. Orie gives South Africa’s Sorbet, a beauty salon franchise, which Orie says Sorbet offers convenience to the modern consumer by offering all beauty treatments in-store.
“Consumers are more likely to be attracted to something which complements or improve their lifestyle”
Ories‘ 5 important attributes that all 21st century businesses share:
1. They have an online or virtual presence Even though the decision to operate physically or virtually largely depends on the type of business, online presence is a must in the 21st century. The benefits of being accessible online far outweigh the risk of not having any online presence.
2. They don’t just offer a service, they offer a lifestyle
Consumers are more likely to be attracted to something which complements or improve their lifestyle. Ensure that your business complements the lifestyle of your target consumer.
3. They don’t offer a job, they sell a vision
Entrepreneurs need to employ or partner with people who share their vision. People are more attracted to something they believe in, rather than the short-lived lure of a better pay-check.
4. They are agile and accessible
All clients would rather not wait to get service. If your business has an opportunity to offer a particular service faster and efficiently, do it. This could be your business’ competitive edge.
5. They use ‘Trend’ for the right reasons
A single customer complaint on a social networking platform such as Twitter or Facebook has a potential to jeopardise years of hard work. Even though it is impossible to make everyone happy, every complaint should be addressed efficiently to set a better impression of the business.