Shifting perspectives in real time: Stockpile's co-founder on agility, fine-tuning and the impact of sharing ideas
Our Featured Innovators series allows us to catch up with some of the brands and organizations that have appeared as integral parts of our free Global Trend Briefings. Stockpile - a company that allows stocks of companies such as Google and Apple to be purchased as gift cards - appeared in our 5 Trends for 2016 publication and here their co-founder, Avi Lele, discusses working with trends, adapting for the future and the importance of recognising a shifting in consumer perspective.
What are some personal tips you can share with us when it comes to spotting trends?
We often spot trends by listening intently. Our product has evolved over time because we’ve put it in front of as many people as possible – taxi drivers, fellow airline passengers, customers, family and friends. You can learn a lot about trends by learning by spotting people’s dislikes in addition to what they enjoy. At Stockpile, we’ve listened intently to thousands of kids, parents and grandparents to hone in on a fun and engaging customer experience. When you listen to enough people, there are often patterns that emerge – for example, we’ve learned that kids want to have more financial empowerment and giving them their own login is very important so they don’t have to pester Mom and Dad!
What are the globally-impacting trends you’ve found impossible to ignore over the last year or so?
At Stockpile, we’ve seen first hand how interconnected the US economy is with the rest of the world. We’ve seen tremendous demand from people all over the world who would like to own a piece of Apple, Facebook, Tesla or Google stock and invest in their future. We started Stockpile in the US, but it wasn’t long before people in Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa reached out asking when Stockpile will be available outside the US. This demand we’re seeing has also come from other trends – the viral nature of social media, the pervasiveness of smart phones and internet accessibility.
We’ve seen what you’re doing in this area today. How do you plan to adapt your strategy for the the medium to long run?
The building of a global investment and savings platform is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint. Along the way, it’s important to be agile and shift product priorities in real time as we get feedback from our customers. We are constantly fine-tuning our messaging and our customer experience.
What is your top tip to other professionals who seek to better understand, and stay ahead of, consumers’ changing expectations?
Read a variety of publications daily and share with your team. Encourage everyone around you to share ideas, thoughts and articles that relate to customer experiences that are working, or could work. Great ideas usually are iterations of other ideas that evolve over time with contribution from many people who have a variety of perspectives. Often, we don’t even know who had a particular idea since so many contribute to shaping its outcome and that’s what we’ve found gets the best results.
You’re featured in our briefing covering PERSPECTIVE SHIFTS – how playfully reframing your offering as an entirely different product in order to shock consumers into a radically new perspective on (and appreciation of) the value you deliver. Why do you feel that this particular shift is occurring (and that professionals should have it on their radar) today?
There are many industries that have been experiencing seismic shifts that relate to consumerization and accessibility. Not too long ago, computers could only be found in specialized computer stores. Music could only be purchased by the album. In the financial services realm, stock was something purchased only by wealthy people and traded in big blocks.
Now, just as anyone can buy a song for 99 cents, stocks can now be purchased for 99 cents in any amount at Stockpile. 93% of Americans have had a gift card go through their hands and, by creating an easy to use, affordable gift card for stock, Stockpile has demystified the investment world for many. Since 86% of Americans don’t own direct stock today, this opens the door for everyone to start investing and saving at a much younger age.
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