It was just five years ago that Uber upset the applecart in London’s taxicab industry. Unable to compete with the smart app and its ride-sharing, car supplying service, the traditional black cabs that were so much a feature of London city life simply faded away. As one enthusiast remarked: “Who needs ‘The Knowledge’ when you’ve got Google Maps and great service?”
Now other industries have been caught napping by upstarts who broke all the rules. The latest is banking, and dinosaurs like Barclays are feeling the effects of a different way of providing services, using technology to connect peer lenders and borrowers, and facilitating transactions at a fraction of the cost.
The startling fact is that the new generation of consumers is not interested in tradition, rules and conventional wisdom. They are willing to take risks, give trust and reward excellent service with brand loyalty – even if the entire channel is digital. And they tell their friends about it. All the time.
The economy of access has made it possible for people to forego ownership in favour of services. No one wants to own a washing machine, they just want clean laundry. City dwellers don’t want to own a car, they just want effortless mobility. And they definitely don’t want to feel ‘owned’ by a bank or telecoms operator.
So what about your industry? Could your business be ubered by a competitor you haven’t even noticed yet? Or are you planning to be the next Uber?