Amazonian Fear? Don’t go at it alone!

With the recent announcement of Amazon.com purchasing Whole Foods there is much to read today. The potential, the impact, the reality and the fear from this is great.

The quote from Christopher Mims in this weekend’s edition of the Wall Street Journal was sobering. “The impact of all this is clear: Existing businesses that can’t respond by becoming tech companies themselves are going to get bought or bulldozed, and power and wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few companies in a way not seen since the Gilded Age.”

This says you must be a tech company. OK, you’re not Amazon. So how do you adapt, innovate and disrupt? Whether you have a 2BN+ market cap, or are a household brand or if you’re a small to medium business, the message is the same. To win. Don’t go at it alone. Innovate and co-create with others. Simple in principal, yet like most important lessons to learn in life and in business, difficult to enact. This simple principal is essential to transcend this shift to compete in this new business landscape.

"When Companies think creatively about how to develop compelling experiences for their customers,
the brainstorm often leads beyond their own internal capabilities. They begin to see how to create
greater value for their target relationships by partnering with other firms to co-create exceptional value."
Nour, David. Co-create: How Your Business Will Profit from Innovative and Strategic Collaboration.
New York, NY: St. Martin's, 2017. 37. Print.

To start, there is no question to be had on the importance of the topic of customer experience to which your efforts must serve in this new business landscape. Immersive experiences that surrounds a customer disrupts. So go back to the basic response – how do you compete. To be successful – don’t go it alone. To win - Leaders – disrupters - are creating Customer Experience Networks and further embracing critical concepts of co-create. In doing this with a focus with the customer at the center and on immersive experiences, I will make four points as essential to drive differentiation:

  1. Master the full buyer’s journey for a true 360 view of the customer. Very few organizations are truly experienced in isolation. And if you are, you can better yourself with others. Understand all touch point’s current and future that surround your customer. Who is in the ecosystems that serve them? For example, a shopper’s ecosystem that combines retailers, product manufacturers, banks, consumer ratings providers, sales tax collectors and social media app developers. Another example, A patient’s ecosystem that touches hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, drug manufacturers, insurance payers, food diary developers and meal delivery providers. Embrace the ecosystem and engage the ecosystem and form strategic relationship together to disrupt.
  2. Use and mastery of data for customer insights and to find opportunity. Big Data is an overwhelming topic for many but is essential to bring together insights to your customer’s experiences with you to learn more about opportunities. Tools exist help bring together data into a data lake and help with understanding of complex relationships and the overall corpus to aid business analysts to understand how to improve. Mix this with insights on the full buyer’s journeys from the ecosystems above.
  3. Leveraging strategic business relationships for co-creation. The ecosystem surrounding your customers are those with whom the opportunities lies for strategic co-creation to disrupt and to build a 360 degree experience. Embrace strategic relationships with purpose and intent to disrupt and create immersive experiences.
  4. Implement a Customer Experience Networks. Open your data to innovation with your strategic relationships. Deliver data as dev ops ready services for rapid innovation. Create, Control and Publish APIs for consumption by the strategic relationships involved in co-create with you. Deliver apps at pace that engage and change lives. After all customer experience stories that win, those we talk about, are those that change the way we live. And don’t expect this to be a one and done. You’ll be back at this again, the key capabilities required for a customer experience network exist so you can iterate, adapt and change with the constituents you started with and with new ones.

So you’re not Amazon. That’s OK, but the WSJ is right - you must be a technology company to some degree for sure - and to disrupt - don’t go at it alone. Think Customer Experience Networks and co-create to win. 

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Facing the Amazon giant: it’s not the fittest who survives, it’s the one with a customer experience network
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