As the recession slowly lifted across Britain, something unusual happened; consumers began to take control of the market once again. Supermarkets were suffering, oil prices fell and consumers began to influence the way companies operate. One of the largest changes in the North was the introduction of Uber, the San Francisco based taxi service.
The launch of Uber caused a huge market shift in the Taxi industry, something traditional Taxi firms are very unhappy about. But is it just? Traditional taxi firms argue the San Franciscan giant is stealing profits with its simple app-focused model, with dozens of competitors around the world bringing international cities to a standstill by staging protests, whilst the use of traditional taxis in some cities have fallen rapidly. I believe this may become a recurring model as consumers choose service and convenience over out-dated business models. Taxi firms may complain about Uber’s aggressive expansion but realistically the company has succeeded by offering consumers a service they prefer with customer service at the forefront of the business. This is clear, as Uber interact with customers via email and social media around the clock and appear more than happy to offer refunds for bad experiences. Previously, when demand outstripped supply, consumers had to accept whatever was offered allowing taxi firms to operate however they pleased, but this left both drivers and customers unhappy with drivers earning very little and customers left unhappy with the service received.
Consumers have become a lot more aware of their power and continue to demand better quality products and service. This new wave of consumer control has hurt some of the worlds largest companies including McDonalds and most British supermarkets. I personally believe this can only be a good thing, it gives independent businesses a fairer chance and ensures large corporations are forced to treat consumers with the respect they deserve.
Tesco has certainly felt the wrath from their consumers as many have chosen good value over convenience. While the consumer was struggling the supermarket giant was thriving, but finally things have changed as the consumer has become more discerning, Tesco has finally been forced to change and things are not looking good for them. Both Aldi and Lidl have taken a fair share of grocery sales by offering quality food at reliably low prices while the remaining grocery shop is often done at smaller shops throughout the week. In a sense Tesco is in part to blame for this change in shopping habits, their constant weekly discounts and launches of smaller local stores became inescapable. Consumers then learnt their was a cheaper way of putting food on their family table that often meant the big four supermarket chains were pushed aside in favour of savier shopping habits.
If this theme continues I believe companies are going to drastically change their approach by improving customer service, integrating new technologies and pushing reliably reasonable pricing. Without altering their approach I believe there will be many more corporate victims in all sectors but particularly on the high street and in the service sector such as hotels and catering.