How tech businesses are empowering consumers

The most successful startups, from Uber to Airbnb, are putting the customer first and offering tech solutions that solve problems

How tech businesses are empowering consumers

Technology is changing how consumers buy products and services, as well as their expectations. So businesses that have addressed customer pain points with innovative, smart technology are experiencing rapid growth and revolutionising the customer buying experience. In doing so, the market share of disruptive tech businesses is increasing rapidly and organic growth is a key component.

In sectors where the customer has been largely under-served or overcharged for too long, it’s hardly a surprise to learn that they proudly and willingly inform their friends and family when they discover a better alternative. The challenge for these new businesses is to understand the drivers behind this behaviour and figure out how best to amplify them. After all, there are few better ways for a new brand to build confidence than to having potential users become aware through a trusted friend or family member.

But the first, and most fundamental, challenge is to understand how to communicate what is often an entirely new proposition. And speaking from personal experience, it’s much tougher than you expect. There will be lots of trial and error and you might not always be communicating a consistent message but it’s necessary to figure out what customers respond best to. For example, through speaking to our customers at carwow, it became clear that they valued the ability to compare prices as it helped them feel more confident that they’re paying a fair price so they were better equipped with the facts when speaking to a dealer. We made this possible through an in-depth understanding of the buying process, coupled with smart technology.

Whatever your sector, you should be clear about the problem your proposition is solving and why you believe your target customer would care. Is it rooted in solving people’s biggest pain points? Every business that springs to mind as having disrupted a sector tends to be customer-centric. They either offer better value, clearer information or a more convenient purchase journey – or all of the above. Airbnb, for example, brought consumers increased choice and a more accessible price point to allow them to travel the world. Uber has removed the frustration of never being able to get a cab when you need one and then paying through the nose when you do. TransferWise, and the new wave of fintech solutions sweeping the sector, has brought long-awaited transparency and better value to a sector notorious for being entirely opaque and leaving consumers powerless. Skype has removed the monopoly of the telecoms on long distance calls, allowing consumers to communicate across borders – without the enormous phone bills. 

All of these business are putting the customer first, bringing them much needed power. They are scaling up because their proposition answers the customer’s needs better than ever before. As a result, they’re irreversibly changing the face of their respective sectors for the better. And for consumers, there’s no going back. Our challenge as entrepreneurs is to keep innovating, keep listening to customers and continue to make things better. 

James Hind
James Hind

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