For many companies the road to transformation is discussed and debated many years and months prior to any action being taken - it starts with external disruption, or in plain english 'why are our YoY revenues and profits declining'?

So when that 'transformation' initiative finally kicks off, just like a printed magazine it's already out of date - welcome to the 21st Century.

Sometimes you can't see beyond what you already know.

Change in behaviour is a constant thing and as a business transformation consultant the first place I start when asked to review a company, its threats and opportunities (if any) is to get the leadership team to answer the following 2 questions;

  1. Why do you think people previously shopped with you?
  2. Why do you think less people are shopping with you now?

What seem like innocuous questions regularly create division and confusion amongst leadership teams. 

"We invested in a website and people"

"We invested in a ERP system"

"We invested in an EPOS system"

I tend to follow up the first 2 questions with 'what was your last investment in the customer and why'?

Far too many companies surge ahead with digital initiatives that for many post implementation simply sit idle on the balance sheet because they didn't work back from the customer and identify if the value of the initiative was driven by internal expectations or external consumer ones.

In my experience by tracking early signs in changing behaviour with your consumers will give you insights into future disruption in your business.

If you had seen the following statement in October 2019 what would you, your leadership team and growth officers had done with it?

"The women's handbags and totes business in the U.S. is down over 20% in the first eight months of 2019, compared with three years ago, according to NPD Group's Consumer Tracking Service".

The honest answer is probably nothing - and so what you might be thinking?.

If you look closer than the headline numbers you'll see that many of these key drivers are those pesky Gen Z and millenials, along with a brands ability to 'influence' potential consumers via social media.

Re-Sale of luxury products isn't anything new, after all who wouldn't want a 'Tom Ford' suit or a 'Versace' dress at a knock down price. 

What's making the difference in the handbag market has more to do with the 'I want it now' generation, combined with the constant exposure and pressure from peer groups to be accepted as part of the tribe.

"As spending has dipped, the rise of names such as Louis Vuitton may seem surprising. But not so much when you factor in the new options that teens have for getting their hands on these luxury labels".

Analysts say the growth of higher-end handbags can at least partially be attributed to the fact that secondhand sellers are flourishing, especially among younger shoppers.

I this behavioral change you would have picked up on, do you have a strategic 'listening' plan?