What do all of these companies have in common?
They are all major market disrupters that single-handily took down the other players in their respective industries.
- Amazon: Changed the way people shop, taking over a huge part of the retail industry.
- Airbnb: Caused a huge decline in hotel stays, negatively impacting the hotel industry.
- Netflix: Reinvented the video rental industry, obliterating major businesses such as Blockbuster.
- Uber: Popularized ride-sharing as an effective form of transportation, drastically reducing the demand for taxi cabs.
But how did they do it?
How did these small, new companies single-handily overtake such established markets?
Some might attribute it to their use of technology. Yes, technology certainly helped, but technology alone could not have accounted for their success. We know this because there are numerous other digital products that have not seen the same unparalleled industry success.
So what was it then?
They had a superpower. A single factor that catapulted their businesses to extraordinary heights and made them industry game-changers.
A focus on user experience.
Instead of only thinking of what product or concept would work best for them, as other industry companies had done, they shifted their perspectives and focused on their users.
What were their needs? What did they want to accomplish and how? What were their pain points?
By looking at their product from a user-centric perspective, these companies were able to uncover key issues with the existing market products. This lead to them creating new products that solved these issues, ultimately resulting in their outstanding successes.
Instead of merely looking for the easiest and most profitable way of selling things to consumers, like many of their fellow retailers were doing, Amazon looked at how they could provide the best experience for their users.
They realized that consumers wanted a convenient shopping experience, but were struggling with limited product selection, inflated prices, and slow deliveries.
Consequently, Amazon was able to come up with a business solution that addressed these problems by providing a comfortable online shopping experience with low prices, an expansive product selection, and fast delivery, resulting in Amazon becoming the retail giant it is today.
Unlike the majority of hotel chains, Airbnb didn’t simply consider what would work for them as a business, but rather broadened their focus and also considered their prospective users, and their needs.
By doing so, they became aware that vacation goers needed a place to stay, however, hotels had limited availability and were often overpriced.
This realization helped Airbnb come up with their game-changing digital platform that solved these problems, while also enabling individuals who had extra available space to earn some money.
Instead of merely looking at the numbers, Netflix focused on its users and what they wanted.
They discovered that customers wanted to be able to watch a wide variety of movies, but were frustrated with the late fees, high prices, slow deliveries, and limited movie selection of existing video rental companies.
So Netflix came up with a solution. They created a subscription-based rental system, offering a large selection of movies, no late fees, and quick delivery.
Unsurprisingly, since this new system solved users’ needs while eliminating the frustrations they previously had, Netflix became extremely successful, and before long completely revamped the video rental industry.
While the taxi industry was mainly concerned with regulations and organizational structure, Uber looked at things from a different perspective and sought to provide a passenger-friendly riding experience.
They realized that while people needed a means of getting from one place to another, they wished it could be a simple experience. Riders didn’t want to deal with the hassle of searching for, or phoning a cab, and were also unhappy with city cabs’ fare controlled prices.
Using these insights as a stepping stone, Uber was able to come up with its now extremely popular ride-sharing app which provides a hassle-free transportation experience by allowing riders to order a car with the simple click of a button and enjoy flexible pricing options.