Customers will still pay for three things — do you provide them?

Publish Date: 
Jan 29, 2013
By Eric Anderson

WE ARE SPOILED. We won’t pay for what we already know. We won’t go two minutes out of our way to come see you. We’ve become a razor-edged crew of hardened shoppers who have vendors effectively coming directly to our royal highness’s palm, desktop or doorstep. The recession coincidentally timed with advancing technology has effectively modified our predatory behavior to the next evolutionary level.

Is it ugly, or is it progress? Either way, it’s fact.

Shopping and buying is a primeval behavior that will always be part of the human animal. It was once called hunting and killing, and it’s all the same, whatever generation or mindset you take. “Merge and acquire” in modern finance is directly metaphorical to a snake stalking a tree frog in the rainforest. At a retail level, customers hunt differently.

Bows gave way to rifles so hunters didn’t have to hike so far. Rifles gave way to stores and shopping malls, downsizing the hunting ground even more. Then along came Google and our hunting perimeter disappeared — our prized quarry was brought to our doorstep instead. Those hunting treks to your store in search of knowledge and product suddenly gave way to six clicks on your iPhone.

But wait, there’s more: house-calling mechanics… online dealers… search engines… apps… social media… mobile marketing… e-shopping — all 24/7/365. It changes the rules for shopping and buying things. If you rely 100 percent on selling things out of a brick-and-mortar retail operation which is open six days a week during the hours when only the aged and the unemployed are free to shop, take heed. 

It’s a bleak picture, unless you slow down and study your customers. In your fear-driven haste to stay alive, have you looked inspirationally at what might create abundance for you and your customers?

Lose any arrogance about you over-influencing your customers — the Age of Information reversed that power a decade ago. We are now a market-driven society and no longer a manufacturing-driven one. Push has changed to pull. Ford no longer tells the market what it will deem acceptable in next year’s model; customers tell Ford what they want, and Ford makes it. Manufacturers, retailers and service providers now can feel the pulse of the American consumer quickly, inexpensively and instantly. If they care. (Continued)