The internet has upended the economics of business. Infinite “shelf space” for goods, new kinds of distribution for digital content, accurate mapping and ubiquitous computing, have drastically lowered the barriers to entry. Even small players now can offer a selection way beyond the dreams of any pre-internet business. As a result, barring some exceptions, the world is becoming less winner take all. There’s room now for a 10th, 20th and even 50th best product – we can cater for everyone and every taste.
Limiting factors nowadays aren’t about getting to market in the first place. They’re around how you track once you’re there. We’ve manufactured a world where everyone can be a producer, but there’s still the same amount of consumer attention to go around. Getting discovered in a world awash with information is the key to success.
You can see the shift in value on the internet by looking at the big companies. They are all about discovery – Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. all help you make connections and unearth what is important and relevant for you. As a business you need to be on the other side of this equation, positioning yourself as relevant to your potential customers.
Engaging with your customers online can vary wildly depending on the type of business and offering you have. If you’re a business with a physical location, it could be as simple as ensuring you are listed and rank well on mapping services like Google maps, or receiving good feedback on review sites like TripAdviser. Otherwise, again depending on circumstance, the digital ecosystem offers amazing opportunities for advertising – thanks to the likes of Facebook’s intimate knowledge of who we are and what we like, getting the best bang for your buck has never been this easy.
But the internet also offers new ways to connect, interact with, and go on a journey with your customers. Through the numerous platforms and services that now exist, businesses have unprecedented avenues to pull back the curtain and get customers involved in the process. To interact with customers where they live – directly on social media platforms, through native coverage of interesting experiments and developments. There are several examples to help guide you in this endeavour.
This is an excerpt from Australia’s Business Challenges, a free e-book from Business Insider. Get your own copy below:
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