Looking inside your crystal ball, what changes in customer behavior will we likely see over the next 5 years – and how should companies start adapting to avoid being blindsided tomorrow?
We all have a tendency to treat whatever moment in time we’re in as “the present” – with the future driven by future events and the past by past events. But neither life nor business works this way. In fact, “current” trends & events occurring right now determine tomorrow’s customer behavior more than today’s.
Does that complicate mid-term planning? Absolutely. And to make anticipating more complex, lag times often occur between triggering events and market reaction. However, seeing customers five years down the road rather than looking in the rear view mirror will give business decision makers a huge edge. So far better for planners to take their best shots – and perhaps be ready for change a bit early – than to get smacked upside the head by customer change they might well have seen coming.
Perhaps a good starting point for “crystal ball gazing'” is anticipating economic change anticipated over the next five years. Coonly agreed on factors include:
- Very slowly diminishing unemployment percentages, perhaps still elevated 5 years from now.
- Excess demand for highly-skilled workers
- Excess supply of mid- and lower-income workers
- Middle class buying power stable at best, possibly continuing to decline
- Rising rate of real estate rental over ownership
- Both government and consumer focus on reducing healthcare costs
- Business focus on automating away as much “rote” work as possible
- Reduced employment prospects for undocumented workers
- Greatly reduced buying power for young consumers compared to past generations
- Increased management focus on reducing service company and front/back office operating costs
I could go on, but most factors wind up pointing towards several important seller considerations.
Appropriate “change” strategies to start implementing today
Some percentage of businesses have at least tinkered
When you look five years down the road, how do you see “tomorrow’s” customer behavior? And how should companies start adapting today to avoid being blindsided tomorrow?