Here at PortMA we measure attitudes and apply proven models to predict consumer behavior for companies on a regular basis. It’s at the core of what we do. Inevitably, we can’t help but consider our own buying behavior and how we relate to brands in the larger scheme of things.
The other day I was thinking about how much my family relies on Amazon.com. Through its subscription-based Prime service (Read Here), the company has tapped into what’s important to many busy people and families. For less than $100 a year, buyers enjoy free shipping on zillions of items and receive products in a very short window of time. Combining value and convenience resonates with customers and has measurably improved the company’s loyalty, margins and customer lifetime value. I don’t know about you, but over the past two years, for better or worse, Amazon.com has become nearly as integrated into our lives as our smartphones. Our kids have never known a shopping environment that didn’t include the internet and we’ve all come to take online shopping for granted.
I think that the internet has exponentially increased both the level of opportunity and level of pressure on companies, which is partly why measuring consumer attitudes has become top of mind for many executives.
Awhile back I read an article that described the internet as a combination of an electronic trade show and a community flea market. As an electronic trade show, it was likened to a giant international exhibition hall where potential buyers can enter at will and visit prospective sellers. They may do this passively, by simply wandering around and enjoying the sights and sounds, or they might become very involved, talking to fellow “attendees”, actively seek booths (brand/products), and even engage in sales transactions with the vendor. As a flea market, the Internet contains basic characteristics of openness, informality, and interactivity – a combination of community and marketplace.
It’s more important than ever for companies to differentiate themselves, to stand out in the crowd is to capture the focus of your customers. Consumers are no longer forced to purchase from local dealers, their options are endless thanks to the internet. On the flip side, small businesses have such a great opportunity to connect with their niche markets. The common theme is that all companies must strive to know and connect with their customers. Brands can’t just put products on shelves anymore, and expect consumers to purchase them. With the click of a mouse we have choices and with improved distribution channels we may choose to wait 2-5 days to receive the preferred product. In this market the most customer savvy companies, who clearly understand both the qualitative and quantitative factors that impact their bottom line, are the ones that will survive and thrive.