User Centricity unlocked: Examples for the pragmatic entry into user-centred decisions

Examples of project-based, pragmatic starting points for User Centricity

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.

In addition, there is a constantly evolving portfolio of channels (e.g. Metaverse or TikTok) and online marketing tactics, e.g. video content marketing, which change user behaviour. In these situations, management’s own experience and their long-standing instincts for the market are simply no longer sufficient to assess future user behaviour.The aforementioned situations require companies to quickly identify and understand what shapes their users’ behaviour so that they can make the right decisions and derive the right actions.

Management’s own experience and its instincts for the market acquired over many years are often no longer sufficient for assessing future user behavior.

User-centricity is an efficient way to successfully address this challenge, across the entire organisation and for the full range of decisions that ultimately aim to correctly interpret and shape user behaviour. The introduction of user-centricity is therefore a company-wide transformation and an overarching change process. But where does the change start? The feared change process in the entire company threatens to take a long time, with an open result – and is therefore often not initiated at all

But the change process can also be initiated pragmatically. User-centricity can be piloted in the company on a project basis, concretely and with quick results. User-centricity should lead to the rapid finding of the right decision. For companies, many of the active and planned projects offer a springboard to first selective experiences and piloting with this approach . This ensures more speed, is at the same time less risky and creates initial successes that can be built upon in the broader roll-out of user-centricity.

User Centricity can be piloted on a project basis and lead to rapid initial success. On the basis of this entry, User Centricity can then be rolled out more broadly, including the change process required for this.

We have carried out numerous projects for our clients in which we were able to implement user-centricity-based methods in isolation from other company processes. In this way, a long change process could be avoided in advance and at the same time positive experiences with User Centricity could be gained quickly. Often, the projects even became internal beacons that set an example for the further introduction of user-centricity throughout the entire company.

Five cases for project-based, pragmatic establishment of user-centricity

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eStrategy Consulting helps clients to use digital innovations to further develop existing business models and to create new business opportunities. We support the retail industry in its further development towards omnichannel and connected commerce and count manufacturers, classic big box retailers, the retail real estate industry or digital marketplaces and platforms among our clients.

eStrategy Consulting covers the entire lifecycle of digital innovation, from analysis to ideation, solution development and market launch. We work as strategy and concept developers as well as seamlessly integrated and pragmatic implementation managers. To do this, we rely on a mix of methods from the world of digital business and classic management consulting. The focus is both on our client’s applying customers as well as his organization and skills necessary to operate.