In fact, I’ve heard there have been more changes in just the last five years than the previous 50 combined. And if you go back to the start of this millennium the amount of change we’ve seen is truly unprecedented, from smartphones to social media to how the Internet is used—and that’s just in the communications field, I’m not even touching the automobiles, TVs and other objects we use on a daily basis.
Just look at it this way, if Facebook was a nation, it would be the third most populated behind China and India, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it surpassed both in the near future. YouTube, which started in 2005, is now the No.1 or No. 2 search engine as videos are all the rage. Mobile phones are now used by more than 85% of the U.S. population and for some they have replaced landlines entirely, plus 63% of mobile phone users use their devices to access the Internet and 46% use it to research local products and services.
And this pace of change, by all measures, will be continuing for the foreseeable future. Not only that so will your customers. When I started writing about this industry more than 21 years ago it was said the main customer was a female baby boomer between the ages of 30 and 55. Well, those people are now 51 to 76, meaning they are still potential customers but it is really the younger generations who are now or quickly becoming your customers.
The facts speak for themselves. Within the next five to 10 years, Gen Y will represent 75% of the workplace. They are quickly becoming your customers and if you don’t adapt to how they shop you’ll find yourself left behind.
If you are a dealer who is aligned with one of the top manufacturers or part of a buying group, there is a reason why these organizations are investing millions of dollars in whatever they can to help make your life easier in terms of being able to not only manage the amount of content that is accruing around the world on a daily basis but put you in a position where the consumer will want to shop in your store.
For those who are not aligned it doesn’t mean you cannot attract this new consumer, but you need to make sure your company is up to speed on the hottest social media sites and creating marketing programs that appeal to a younger generation.
The point is for you to adapt to this changing world. Yes, change is hard: There was a time when companies didn’t see the need for a fax machine; then they couldn’t live without them. Then came the Internet and small businesses scoffed at the idea of having a website, now a business without one is most likely out of business. Even in how your store is managed, as the days of using a generic accounting program should stop, as today’s flooring specific programs allow companies to run more efficient, effective and profitable businesses because they are geared specifically to your needs.
They say more companies fail coming out of a recession than during one, and considering the pace of change we’re seeing, that saying will be truer than ever if you don’t adapt to this new world order.