By its very definition, the phrase “paradigm shift” implies disruption. In business, consumer paradigm shifts are particularly disruptive, as they force the companies affected to alter (sometimes dramatically) existing models in favor of new ones. Faced with choice of exchanging the certain for the uncertain, it’s no wonder most companies opt for a wait-and-see approach to change, tacitly hoping that time will prove any shift unnecessary. Unfortunately, the growing influence of technology in business is exponentially increasing the speed, prevalence, and magnitude of paradigm shift disruption, allowing brands little time to adjust or evolve. In such a chaotic business environment, acceptance of change is often a lagging indicator; by the time it’s been fully realized, the opportunity has passed.
Just ask bricks-and-mortar tech retailer Best Buy. Once a Wall Street darling, the company is now fighting to stay in business. The consumer shift to a social, local, mobile (SoLoMo) paradigm, aided by Internet-enabled mobile devices, represents an existential threat to bricks and mortar retailers such as Best Buy worldwide. Led by Amazon.com, online eTailers are sucking the life out of retailers one click at a time, reducing them to little more than showrooms for would-be consumers to check out products firsthand before going online and buying them via the likes of Amazon.