Customer demands are changing rapidly in the digital economy. That’s a challenge for all kinds of companies, but for small businesses, just keeping up can present a seemingly impossible hurdle.
Andrea Stairs, general manager of eBay Canada and Latin America, and Ning Tang, founder of CreditEase, talked to Fortune’s Phil Wahba about how companies of all sizes are attempting to adjust to the changing landscape at the Fortune Global Forum in Toronto on Tuesday.
“We’re seeing that there are leaders around the world who are changing the expectation on shipping time and cost and selection,” Stairs said of the ecommerce business. “And then everyone else is having to catch up.”
As industry frontrunners like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, set precedent, Stairs said that small businesses struggle to keep pace. Using established platforms and forming partnerships helps those companies avoid having to address each of those changes themselves, she said.
Rather than get too caught up in what competitors are doing right now, Tang urged Forum attendees to keep looking to the future. “It’s all about what you can deliver to the consumer,” he said. ”The shape and form [of business] will have to change over time, along with the changing customer experience.”
Noting that his own company tries to reinvent itself “every five years,’ Tang said adaptability is the key to surviving—and thriving—in the constantly evolving digital world. “We have to be based on consumers’ future needs,” he says.