This article is based on an interview between Mr Sanjay Kathuria and Mr Ritesh Agarwal who explains how to identify trends in business. It is imperative to identify trends to grow business and serve customer needs. If you understand the customer’s requirement, then you can: - Produce a good product - Do the right marketing - Do the right communication - Attract towards product ## **1. How to identify Trends?** Mr Ritesh Agarwal explains that to identify a trend; you need to - Research about the market by speaking to customers and stakeholders - It would be best if you became your Subject Matter Expert to execute plans It’s straightforward to identify a trend using the internet and other resources. **For example:** Mr Agarwal noticed that India is a milk-loving nation. People here love milk and milk products. This led to him discover that milk-based start-ups have significant growth and many of them have grown in front of him only. He noticed this business when one day he saw a milk packet hanging on the handle of a door with a code number on it. That’s when he realised that people today are buying milk because they do not have time to stand in queues or from stores. He also noticed the trend that most of the people are ordering groceries online rather than buying it from stores. Whenever you notice such trends, remember that establishing a business model by learning from one or two customers and moving things in a trend are two different things. ## **2. What changes to make after noticing trends?** In OYO, he learned it in three ways: ### **1. App usage** Initially, he thought that most of the customers would come through telephone and walk-ins, but today, if you know about OYO, you must not know the fact that in its 6 years of existence, OYO did not have an app in the initial 2 years. Observing the usage of Ola and such apps, he noticed that requirement of such apps is increasing rapidly in the market. So, he changed the business model and made the mobile app a primary source of business. ### **2. Sales team interaction** The small and medium businesses wanted OYO’s sales team to interact with them and give services to the employees of their companies. For this, he hired one or two sales agents, but after noticing that it’s increasing, he formed a team for his corporate and small & medium businesses. This team has, till now, associated 6,000 corporate and small & medium businesses with OYO. Just like that, Mr Agarwal suggests that if you notice the movement of grocery business towards delivery, then you should do the business about delivery. This implies that you need not hire people to sit in stores, rather hire people who’d go out and deliver your products. You don’t have to take a lease on the high street as it can cost a lot, rather, you can choose a low street because that won’t affect your business as customers like your delivery and not the shop. ### **3. Team from the local area** Try and hire people from the local area because they will be well-versed with the area and will be able to reach quickly. The toughest time for a customer is when he/she has to direct the delivery agent to their address. ## **3. Research & Implementation to Attract Customers** It is important to notice trends and conduct research to know what the customers are liking and create something innovative that can go viral in the market. **For example:** One of Mr Agarwal’s friends, Mr Darshan Patel, started a company called Vini Cosmetics. In the company, there is a very well-known product, Fogg deodorant. You must’ve noticed the ad and its dialogue ‘Fogg Chal Raha hai’. When Mr Agarwal asked Mr Patel how he got the idea of this ad, Mr Patel explained that whenever he sent his agents to stores for research and whenever the agents asked store owners “Kya Chal Raha Hai?”, they’d say, “Fogg Chal Raha Hai”. Mr Patel noticed this trend and made an advertisement out of it, and it went viral. The rapid growth of his business happened because he noticed that along with looking good, people also want to smell good, and that’s how their business grew. Hence, it is crucial to notice a trend and constantly check for what’s new and famous in the market. OYO and many such platforms grew with the help of trends only. There are 3 ways to notice trends: 1. Interact with eco-system and customers 2. Talk to your team 3. Use the following tools: - Constantly track other websites - Learn from competitors - Google Trends **For example:** If you want to know which product is being most searched during COVID, then go to Google Trends and start your research. Let’s assume that you want to search about board games and choose country and 12 months of the time period; you’ll see that the orders have increased 100 times and the graph has gone higher. On the other hand, if you search for a gym, you’ll see that the searches have gone down while the graph of fitness has gone higher. In this way, you can always keep a check on the keywords trending in a country or state. If you find a keyword that seems useful for you, you can add that to your set of services as well. ## **4. Learnings** Overall, Mr Agarwal has taught to: - Identify trends - Use technology - Use team - Learn from mistakes - Use Google trends for favourite words, breakthrough words, and search volume of words - Understand customer’s pulse