Digital Omni-Channel Self-Service

Following Apple’s $3 Billion purchase of Beats, subscription-based music streaming services are rapidly gaining appeal among heavyweights such as Google and Twitter.  On Thursday, The Financial Times reported that Twitter is in talks to purchase SoundCloud, having previously expressed interest in Spotify and Pandora. Earlier this week, The New York Post reported that Google is actively shopping around for a music streaming service as well. Most analysts have speculated Spotify is the target, though Rdio and Rhapsody have also been noted as possible acquisitions.

This trend in the digital landscape has larger implications. As digital music downloads continue to decline, the music industry is facing a reality of the evolving digital age – consumers increasingly expect personalized, self-service experiences anywhere, anytime, from any device. Companies such as Pandora and Spotify successfully monetized distribution of content by incentivizing premium subscriptions – the freedom of choice presents a preferable alternative to purchasing individual units.

‘What I Want, When I Want’

The trend is omni-present and extends beyond streaming music: Netflix, Aereo and Hulu are disrupting the way we ingest television and movies on a multitude of omni-channels. This shift in demand contributes to the increasing markets for Uber, all of Amazon’s omni-channel offerings, FreshDirect, GrubHub, Seamless, etc. – the list is extensive. When people go to the doctor, they research online for reviews and ratings, then oftentimes proceed to schedule appointments and provide insurance information through digital channels. If an industry such as healthcare – typically resistant to the forces of changing market demand – is undergoing such an adaptation, it is safe to say supply chains are enduring a paradigm shift.

The large sum of Apple’s purchase was undoubtedly a longer-term investment – meeting consumer expectations being a necessity to continue to thrive and ultimately out-earn the competition. The competition is reacting fast, however, responding to the market demand for instant retrieval and personalized choice. Successful companies with well-developed digital strategies in other industries are taking notice of these rapidly shifting consumer expectations. In order to increasingly drive revenue, personalization and choice preferences must be met – regardless of the product. An optimized digital strategy and roadmap to implement omni-channel, consumer-centric digital experiences are a must for any firm seeking to thrive in the new economy.