I started my career in estate agency in 1981; in a world that then had no mobile phones, no Internet and − believe it or not − it was even rare to see a colour photograph on a set of property particulars. Estate agency was undoubtedly in a different place in those days and, looking back, it is now difficult to believe how the business could have operated effectively without the modern day communications that we take for granted today.
Progress is indeed progress and, over the many years since, I have witnessed a succession of technological innovations that have come and gone in my professional life with varying degrees of success. However, I don’t believe that anybody can deny that the birth of the Internet was a fundamental “game changer” for all of us, as it has cut across every aspect of our personal and professional lives.
More pertinently perhaps, it has been both interesting and indeed enlightening to observe British business, and retailing in particular, get to grips with how − please forgive the retailing jargon − best to use the Internet to improve their “customer experience”.
A good example that springs to mind would be the contrasting fortunes of both John Lewis and rivals Marks & Spencer, both of whom have been purveyors of quality and value on our high streets for a great many years. The former were quick to understand and embrace the Internet in order to improve their service, rather than see it as purely a threat. Whereas the latter even now have some catching up to do, which might well go some way to explaining their decreasing market share and disappointing financial results over recent years.
The John Lewis / Marks & Spencer example is simply one of many, and in estate agency too there are many notable examples of successful innovation but also, sadly, too many firms who are rather hoping that “change” is something that happens to other people and not to them.
Whether your firm is an Ikea or an MFI, a Woolworths or a Wilko, at Ideology Consulting we are always available to make the process of “change” more bearable.
So, for further information, please call Ideology Consulting on 0333 9398010 or go to www.ideologyconsulting.co.uk.