The story of Merger & Acquisition is not a new one to tell. In fact, it has been happening in our economies for hundreds of years. So, what’s different today? In a world of corporate competition, knowing and understanding your customer journey has been critical to delivering faster than your competition, and gaining in the race for market-share value.
But what happens you have exhausted your customer process? From the moment you receive your raw materials, to the point of sale, through to communication campaigns to keep your clients engaged and buying from you regularly, what more is there to do? As it goes, a lot, actually.
Introducing a new side to corporate venturing. This is corporate venturing with a customer-focused vision.
We look at 4 examples where large organisations have taken a leap into a new type of economy, to tap into a booming customer demand market, and to complete their already almost-complete customer cycle.
IKEA and Task Rabbit
We all know IKEA as the giant blue and yellow Swedish flat pack mecca that many flock to when they need to dress a new living room or outfit a new home office. And where traditionally the business was known for it’s unique product, the definition of flat-pack furniture became synonymous with IKEA. All good and well for the customer, if the customer is prepared (and capable) of assembling all this wonderful stuff. But there was a gap. What if they weren’t? Introducing Task Rabbit. Task Rabbit was setup within the quickly-developing Gig Economy and created an online and mobile marketplace that “matches freelance labour with local demand, allowing consumers to find immediate help with everyday tasks, including cleaning, moving, delivery and handyman work” – including, assembly of flat-pack furniture. Where IKEA may have been missing out on a consumer group that were naturally averse to assembling anything themselves, the purchase of Task Rabbit now means that the organisation as a whole is able to serve both groups of consumers. The one complimenting the other – taking IKEA out of the boxed, and into the new, accessing a new evolving marketplace which is far more digital, far more agile, and most importantly, far more driven towards a growing, digital future.
Amazon and Whole Foods
Amazon – one of the world’s biggest online marketplaces for, well let’s be honest, pretty much everything. From product to media to film, Amazon remains one of the leading e-commerce organisations at the forefront of innovation. Their ability to process orders and delivery, in many situations, the next day, Amazon decided it was time to deliver a new set of opportunities for their demanding customer-base, by moving into the grocery and health foods market. But there was more to this transaction. Introducing Whole Foods. After the deal officially went through in August 2017, changes were almost immediate. In February this year, Amazon were testing the concept of delivery of groceries and other goods directly from Whole Foods in a select number of locations within the US. They’ve been toying with the idea to use Whole Food locations as Amazon Depots, giving customers the ability to order fresh produce, meat, seafood, flowers, baked goods and more, along with other tech-related items, and having it all delivered to their door within 2 hours. Coupled to Amazon Prime cash-back vouchers which are also usable at Whole Foods stores, Amazon are not planning on standing still, and this was just another step in the fight to be the best, deliver the quickest and serve the customer, better.
Amazon and Ring
Staying with Amazon for a second, and in their quest for slicker delivery, news broke recently of the acquisition of front-door tech leader, Ring. Ring.com allows users to install re-chargeable front door bells and cameras which connect to wifi – giving users the ability to answer the door bell from anywhere in the world, all via a wifi connection – meaning no more missed deliveries. Although Amazon had been experimenting with their own version of connected cameras, the purchase of Ring means that they immediately have access to a strong network of not only cameras, but other security gear like solar security systems, floodlight cameras and in-home alarm systems).
WeWork and Conductor
A slightly more unusual matrimony was the recent acquisition of SEO marketing company Conductor by co-working giant, WeWork. How do these two go together, you ask? Well, it would appear that WeWork are on a acquisition mission to serve their own clients better and to target the enterprise market. Through the purchase of Conductor, they hope to build on the “search data is human data” concept offering their own clients added insight into their markets and WeWork themselves enterprise-focussed attack plan. Other acquisitions in the pipeline, or already concluded, include Meetup, a tool launched in 2002, which helped groups of people organise offline meet-ups and events, Flatiron School, a coding education platform that offers both online and offline classes to folks who want a career in the world of tech, amongst others.