There are a lot of considerations and factors to be taken into account when ensuring the sustained success of any business. While cash flow, ongoing investments in operations and growth strategies are undoubtedly critical for small and medium sized businesses in particular, adapting one’s business according to new, emerging and changing consumer trends is just as important.

Consumers, i.e The target market of any particular business, tend to shift their behaviour, preferences and expectations in both predictable and unpredictable ways. 

This means that as a business looking to maintain market share, brand reputation and ensure sales you will need to be able to identify, understand and adapt to these trends. Failure to do so can be the difference between thriving and falling behind in an increasingly competitive marketplace. 

Understanding Consumer Trends

When we use the term “consumer trend” we are simply referring to the aggregate of wants, needs and values of customers or clients. 

Of course, some markets, such as fashion retail, are more susceptible to consumer trends changing than others, such as tax accounting advice. Nevertheless, from purchasing habits to shifts in lifestyle preferences, just about every market will be affected by trends manifesting in some degree or form. 

Over the last few decades, the rise of the internet and extraordinary increase in technological capabilities have enabled consumer trends to change more significantly than ever before. New trends, fuelled by necessity and preferences, have changed the faces of many industries. 

Examples of changing consumer trends

Here are just a few examples of recent changes in consumer trends and preferences. 

Retail – The rise of eCommerce platforms and contactless payment methods.

Packaging – The regulatory and cultural shift towards more sustainable packaging.

Delivery – The increased expectation and preference for product delivery.

Automobiles – The increase in interest in electric vehicles.

Becoming An Adaptable Business

As a business, being able to adapt to changes in trends means being responsive and flexible. It’s about the way in which and the speed at which one can adjust strategies in product supply or service delivery to align with the evolving trends.

The essential first step is monitoring shifts in the market so that customer behaviour can be identified or, preferably, anticipated. The more proactive and anticipatory one’s strategies in capitalising on changes in market trend, the more successful the adjustment will be.

Being an adaptable business is not just a technical and operational ability to react to changes, but also a business mindset and culture to stay agile and resist becoming stagnant in one’s business approach. 

The Importance of Adapting to Trends

In a fast-paced, changing consumer market it is more important than ever for businesses to remain adaptable. Failing to adapt will increase the risk of losing relevance and market share to competitors who are willing and able to shift in response to changing consumer preferences.

Staying ahead of or, at least, riding the wave of consumer change will allow businesses to retain existing market share and even grow by attracting new customers/clients who are interested in the innovative, relevant solutions being offered.

Tips for Creating An Adaptable Business

So, how can businesses improve their adaptability to consumer trends? 

1. Invest in market research

Data is king. Investing in market research and gathering data allows businesses to analyse and gain insight into consumer behaviour and preferences. Modern technology and business software offers plenty of data analytic tools to help identify patterns and anticipate trends. With the right information, you can make accurate and informed decisions about product development and marketing strategies.

2. Ensure operational agility

Waiting until a new consumer trend is the norm is too late if you want your business to grow. Business agility in terms of operations needs to be built into the system before trends emerge so that when a pattern is identified, you have the resources, financial and otherwise, to adjust operations and enact your set out strategies. 

3. Focus on culture

Fostering a culture of innovation and experimentation within your organisation will enhance willingness and ability to adapt. Creative thinking, calculated risk taking and willingness to innovate are not always natural phenomena in a business so you will need to make it a proactive focus of yours. Encourage your team to test new ideas that could lead to breakthrough improvements in a way that will best support your business in the event that consumer demands change. 

4. Forge strategic partnerships

For small and medium sized enterprises in particular, strategic partnerships and collaborations can help businesses remain agile and responsive in the face of changing consumer trends. Reach out to complementary businesses in your network, new markets, technology providers and external expertise to help stimulate as much a balance of durability and flexibility in your business’s market offerings.

5. Manage cash flow

Cash flow is the lifeblood of a business. It allows for not just ongoing operational capability but builds in enough slack to allow a business to be adaptable in the face of sudden market change and capitalise on opportunity accordingly. 

At ScotPac we recognise the importance of customised financial solutions to help businesses fund their own adaptability initiatives. Whether it’s more traditional bank loans for asset expansion, product innovation for growth, or invoice finance which offers ongoing access to working capital when your business may need it most, having the right financial facility set up before you need it can save you a lot of pain. 

ScotPac – leverage our 35 years of experience today

The lending specialists at ScotPac have unrivalled expertise and experience in finding the right financial solution to suit our clients. We don’t view our relationships as transactions but rather as partners to help fuel growth and ensure adaptability in a dynamic marketplace. 

To find out more about how one of our tailored business solutions could help your business develop the necessary flexibility and agility to respond to change in consumer trends, contact us today to arrange an initial consultation