Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Age, New Consumer
written by Desmond Blair

The growth of digital technologies is leading to a new type of consumer. We are seeing the beginning of consumers who are now well informed and seek more of a direct contact and feedback with the businesses they interact with. This new and informed consumer seeks interaction not inaction. This is why it is important large companies invest time and listen to consumers when entering the online domain.
There are several things to be aware of in the online arena. First, it is of utmost importance to establish a relationship with the consumer and not just feed people information. People want to feel engaged they want to share their ideas and opinions to form more of a bond not only with the company whose products they consume but also with other consumers. Too often, companies announce products that are destined to fail because of this idea that “Big Business” still controls the habits of today’s consumer. This notion is a tremendous fallacy in the online arena because people share and seek out information. This brings me to my second point, attempting to bottleneck information in an environment that is supposed to be free and open will damage a company’s reputation immediately. This is very important to remember because reputation is very important in online spaces. This is very important for garnering consumer trust and also important for gaining word of mouth support that can transition into increased “real life” (people who may not get their information from the web) support as well.
A shift in the relationship between businesses and consumers is beginning to occur. Consumers are no longer limited to obtaining goods from companies. Now consumers are able exchange goods with fellow constituents on a mass scale. (Interactions are not as localized as they used to be.) Consumers are more empowered and knowledgeable about the products they consume. This knowledge changes the dynamic because people can now research products and companies to determine whom they are willing to buy from.
The web is not just changing people it is changing the way people consume. The notion or idea of the web is creating a generation that seeks to be engaged, seeks to be knowledgeable, and desires the ability to express ideas and share concerns.

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