As little as ten years ago, in order to have a successful business all you needed was a phone number, an office and, of course, a desirable product. In fact, we even measured many company’s success on the size and location of their premises. These days, however, in the midst of the internet boom, size and location are no longer the deciding factors as many of the most successful companies are complete virtual entities.
So what has changed in such a short amount of time? It all comes down to habit and as accessibility to the internet has increased, our thirst for convenience has grown dramatically. As working hours get longer and people’s priorities change, many people just don’t have the time or the desire to shop in the same way as they did a decade ago.
Nowadays, you’re much more likely to find someone shopping on their phone during their morning commute, than you are heading out to the shops after work, and when you think about the fact that most retailers now offer next day (some even offer same day) delivery, it’s pretty easy to see why.
So, with the clear success of web-based companies, you won’t be surprised to hear that they’re running a mockery of tradition, here are just a few of the fastest growing in Europe.
Spotify, the Swedish music streaming service, now has more than 10 million paying subscribers. Paying for an instant service like Spotify is so much easier than purchasing individual CDs that will never be listened to, simply uploaded onto an MP3 player. It’s arguably much cheaper to pay for Spotify or another similar service, than it is to buy the latest albums each month. When you consider it takes less than a minute to add a song to your playlist on Spotify, it’s little wonder traditional retailers are suffering in comparison.
UK site Farfetch has given boutique and fashion lovers the perfect and convenient place to shop for the products they love. There are plenty of bonuses for sellers too; rather than selling products once a week at a market or paying rent for a shop in fashionable district, people can now sell their products 24/7 online, to a much wider audience – exactly why virtual companies are so popular. Farfetch is currently valued at around £800 million and is growing considerably each year.
Our convenience lifestyles haven’t just led to a boost in online versions of high street retailers though, it’s also led to many new online companies that have taken advantage of our laziness. Take German company Delivery Hero for example. Their simple concept has revolutionised the way the world orders food from their favourite takeaways.
No longer is there a language struggle or a risk of incorrect orders because now it’s all done through an app and there’s no need to speak to the restaurant at all. Delivery Hero have grown so rapidly they’re now present in more than 33 countries around the world under many different names, including their most recognisable hungryhouse.
Delivery Hero is continuing to spread their concept globally, growing by around 50 per cent each year.
Similar in concept, Skyscanner has become the number one travel search engine in Europe due to its simple format and ability to help travellers find the best deals on flights without using multiple websites or travel agents. The UK site, which was created by three graduates, was sold to a China’s Ctrip at the end of last year for £1.4 billion, making a tidy profit for the creators.
Convenience is key to the success of every single one of these companies and it’s now the element that separates a business success from a business failure. Nowadays, the size of the company and location of the premises don’t matter; what matters is that you’re providing your customers with a convenient, quick and affordable service, and in reality, that can all be done with a well-built website.