Probably the most important, but also the most difficult management task is making decisions. Particularly exciting are decisions that involve people whose needs you want to respond to or whose behaviour you want to influence in order to set the right course for your own business model. Ultimately, one’s own success always depends on the behavior of key people or groups, such as customers, leads and prospects, but also business partners or internal employees.
Digitization poses particular challenges, because digital solutions, products or services can be thought of and developed in many different ways. However, only those solutions are successful that are ultimately accepted by the user, ideally even with enthusiasm. The central prerequisite for this is that these solutions generate added value for the respective user or offer the opportunity for positive change. This has an essential implication for the decision-making process: The management must place the user at the centre of the decision-making process, i.e. act “user-centric”. The user can be a customer of the company, as mentioned above, or an employee who uses an internal solution. The user can also be a company with which the company works in partnership, e.g. via digital portals.
Only solutions that are accepted by the user, ideally even with enthusiasm, are successful. The central prerequisite is that these solutions generate added value for the user or offer the opportunity for positive change.
Management and leaders often assume that they know enough about the respective market or the situation of their users, especially because of their own many years of experience. The reality, illustrated for example by the high number of unsuccessful digital products, speaks a different language. Two causes are particularly common: 1) The assumption that copying an existing product or service in the market, i.e. a “copy-cat”, is sufficient for one’s own value proposition. 2) The focus on the question of whether an idea is operationally and technically feasible, without the actual question of the value proposition being asked conclusively and early enough from the customer’s point of view.
It becomes particularly serious when customers spontaneously change their behaviour due to external influences. Since 2020 alone, two dominant triggers can be identified, first the Corona crisis, then the recession also driven by the Ukraine war. Both triggers led to substantial changes in the purchasing behaviour of B2C and B2B customers, not only in terms of shifts in purchasing interests, but also in online usage behaviour. Purchasing interests in the B2C sector shifted more intensively towards home & garden, consumer electronics and home office during Corona, for example, and back towards travel, events and fashion after Corona. The recession, on the other hand, increases interest in attractively priced offers. In combination with the increasing importance of sustainability, this in turn leads to greater interest in high-quality, but used and refurbished electronic products.