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Can We Survive?

Today everyone wants to know - will Amazon or Google take over the ecommerce space in its entirety? Does the pure play or the multi channel retailor have a chance at competing for customers in this digital world? When you look at the landscape, Amazon is doing what Walmart did offline- move into a community, create this huge store, and effectively close down any mom and pop that is out there. In essence, Walmart is using its huge buying power to undercut everyone else’s process and effectively put us all out of business. So the question stands strong: Will the big boys online, Amazon and Google effectively push us all out of business? Or is there something else at play in the online sphere? Understanding the fundamentals that led to Amazon’s success at the helm of online commerce and its ability to maintain that lead with competitors continually biting at their backside, will give us a better understanding on how to survive and thrive in the online world. The new customer: Over the years we have a seen a major shift in customer behavior online. Companies that have moved with the trend have captured and maintained customer loyalty and increased their web presence. What does this new customer look like? There are 5 qualities that I believe this new being (customer) looks like. If as a brand you address the below mentioned criteria, your chances of succeeding are not only doubled, but might just give you an advantage needed to survive and comfortably compete with the Amazons of the world.

  1. Customers today want to be Educated. If your site is providing content to keep me engaged then you not only have gotten my attention, you have also received my loyalty.
  2. Transparency. When a client today sees that companies are willing to share information and allow other customers to rate, review, comment and criticize its products, customers take notice and respond positively. We have learned from studies that when a product has a negative review amongst positive reviews, the conversion rate is 43% higher.
  3. As we have seen with digital music, people are willing to pay for an experience even when they can receive the music for free. Experience is what our consumers are looking for. When an item on your site has a video the chances of someone converting are almost doubled. They want to interact with the content not just with the products. Ecommerce needs to be translated as experience commerce.
  4. With technology moving so quickly (Moore’s law) companies will need to continuously keep their fingers on the pulse to see where and how they need to change and innovate. The marketers and CIO’s that continue to evolve and move with the times will be rewarded by their customers. Innovation has its drawbacks; I call it the GEMOOT syndrome (get me one of those). So we must ask not which technology we need to use or get involved with but why and how.
  5. Most importantly, Humanity. Customers today want to be treated as human beings in every way. How our CRM agents speak, what the messaging is on the site, what tone the emails are written, and the personalities that are working in your company all represent the customer you are trying to attract. One thing I have learned over the years is companies that have employees that are passionate about the brand they work for are the ones that will be here for the long haul. In some ways we are moving into the dark ages where barter and conversations must be part of the transaction.

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