I was recently looking for a point and shoot camera. I immediately went on CNET.com read editor reviews, then to Amazon.com to read user reviews to select the camera that I wanted to purchase. Several years ago, I had done the same thing, only differently. I had gone to the local Best Buy and Circuit City, looked at the selection of camera’s they had, picked one with the features that I wanted.
In just a few years internet has transformed the way consumers behave. Consumers are connecting to one another, creating an efficient network of information that is transforming business. Whether you’re a consumer or business owner, you are now a part of this connected consumerism.
By simply sharing experiences about products, brands, and businesses, consumers are learning from each other’s experience. This vast network of information is shaping the way that we make decisions. Connected consumers have the power to define the marketplace; Yelp.com and other review sites have taken the place of Yellow Pages; Blockbuster failed with the advent of Netflix and others.
So how does this affect my business?
Factors that influenced people’s buying decisions have changed. Vehicles that businesses used to influence consumers have changed. Collective information shared and consumed by your customers influence purchasing decisions. Process of natural selection applies here. Those who adapt will win.
A billboard on the street corner that displays your store information to passing “potential” customers sure makes you feel good, but that is clearly not how your customers are obtaining their information about you or your services.
The business challenge
Social consumerism is growing and changing as you read this. Consumers and their behavior is not predictable. Consumers are unlocking group deals on living social, and using Facebook deals. How can a business successfully connect with the consumers? Adapt, try new things, at least a little at a time.
In a world where most marketers do the same thing for better results this year, those who brave uncharted waters will succeed.
Try new things, look at ways you can provide on demand information when a consumer is looking for your product or service. Do something that makes you uncomfortable with your marketing budget; try new mediums instead of the same old avenues. Measure results, see how customers respond to it.
Build relationships, both offline and online. Be social, not only with those who walk into your business, also with those who are connecting online. Listen to your consumers, engage with them. Provide customers ways to connect with each other, and share information around your product or service. Adapt before it’s too late.
How will you engage with your customer next? What have done recently to connect with your customer?