Sep 22, 2020 by Jeff Moss

Today's Customer

We're seeing a dramatic change in buying habits among consumers

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Supply Chain Trends Performance
Today's Customer

The buying habits of today’s customer have changed dramatically over the past few decades and those changes have only accelerated in recent years. Many of the adjustments in buying habits can be attributed to paradigm shifts in the consumer mindset. As I reflect on this, I can’t help but think of the influence Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos have had on that mindset and on our industry.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

Steve Jobs

Jobs set the standard for selling intuition. Buy any Apple device, open the box, and plug it in. It works! There’s no thick instructional booklet, and you don’t need customer service on speed dial. The device is self-intuitive, using it comes naturally. Today’s customer has been trained to expect this ease of use, not only for technology, but for anything they purchase. In the consumer’s mind, every purchase should be ready for use upon arrival. This has now transferred into the industrial world, including material handling and automation.

It is difficult for us to imagine that ten years from now, customers will want higher prices, less selection, or slower delivery. Our belief in the durability of these pillars gives us the confidence required to invest in strengthening them.

Jeff Bezos

Bezos set the standard for selling convenience. And he set the bar high. Today’s customer has been conditioned — one click from any device and there’s a package on your doorstep the next day. This mindset has transferred beyond Amazon to the rest of e-commerce. Consumers expect Amazon-level service across the board, be it books, groceries, clothing, or pharmaceuticals.

As evidenced by his quote, the customer is first and foremost in the mind of Bezos. In 2019, Amazon moved to one-day shipping to surprise and delight their customers. To up the ante even further, they now offer Prime Same-Day and Prime Now (one- or two-hour delivery) to select customers. This responds to today’s “tyranny of now” attitude and has set the stage for redefining supply chains globally.

 

Next up, Tomorrow's Consumer

The influence of Jobs and Bezos has impacted the consumer mindset and redefined our industry standards. If we take a page from their books, we will realize the customer has set a brisk pace in the demand for intuition and convenience. Can we keep up?

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