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As the web has evolved from 1.0 to 2.0 to whatever point oh we currently reside, the maxim “the consumer is king” has begun to ring truer and truer. When the Earth cooled, brands could simply pound one-way broadcast messages into peoples’ minds. “We’re not selling enough?! Increase the frequency!”
Then, the world was given microphones in the form of social media. Communication between brands and people became a two-way channel. “They can talk about us, and they have an audience?!”
Now, add another layer of complexity: People can buy anything from anywhere at anytime. “They came into our store, but purchased from our competitor on their mobile phones?!”
The year is 2012. And retail will never be the same again.
Survival and future success lies in a combination of old-world common sense and new-world functionality. Go back to your original brand voice. What is your core philosophy? Why did you start your business to begin with? Think about it. Now figure out how to replicate that voice and story, intelligently, across platforms. Work to motivate people to engage and become a part of the brand.
As it relates to commerce, if people are buying online or from mobile devices in your store, resist the urge to fight it. Just as you’ve had to cede total control of your brand communication, you must loosen your grip on the purchase process. Take this leap: Make it easier for your customers to buy whatever, wherever, whenever. Revamp your online store and get moving on mobile commerce. Cross promote your various sales channels in-store.
Lastly, don’t forget that your customers are people. Your brand exists in the context of their busy lives. Give them a reason to like your brand and make it easy for them to buy. This takes guts, but people will love you for it.