Sunday, 19 August 2012

Customer Experience – The New Ruler of Commerce

I read an interesting article on this week about how customer experience is more than just a marketing buzzword, it is in fact at the core of how commerce has changed in the last few years.

The writer (Harley Manning) identified different stages of business focus –
1.       1900-1960: The age of manufacturing when the size and placement of your factory determined your business strength.
2.       1960-1990: The age of distribution when globalisation and de-regulation allowed businesses to focus on cheap sources of supply and how they got goods to local stores. How that was done was pretty much kept from consumers.
3.       1990+: The age of information started with a dramatic shift from the seller to the buyer as information-centric companies like Amazon and Google thrived.
4.       Today: The age of the customer has arrived. The barriers are down. Customers know almost as much about product procurement as companies do. They can access goods from anywhere in the world, read product reviews and product comparisons from many different sources, and make informed decisions about what is good value.

So, this is the age of customer experience. The difference between you and your competitor is how you treat the customer, how you present yourself, how honest you are, how much effort you put in, how accessible you are, and how enjoyable you make the whole shopping experience. An exciting challenge indeed.