There’s been a lot of huffing and puffing lately about bricks and mortar losing business online. But perhaps the businesses struggling to stay alive in the digital economy are the ones that hit the snooze button on customer engagement.
“Closing retail, going e-tail” was the sign in the small businesswoman’s shop window, photographed for last weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald (which by-the-by, I enjoyed reading in hard copy. Weekdays I prefer to consume news online). It was a catchy little summary for a trend that is shaking up the retail sector.
The Commonwealth Government has asked the Productivity Commission to investigate the issue. Yet by the time its final report comes out in August, year end will have come and gone and many businesses will be none the wiser about how to stem the e-tailing tide.
But shouldn’t business try to catch the wave instead?
Customers are a critical stakeholder segment for every organisation. Without them, no business is sustainable. When was the last time your business committed to a stakeholder research and engagement program to find out (or affirm):
a) who your customers are (or could be)
b) what they want
c) how they want to do business with you, and
d) how to deliver them exceptional customer service given a, b and c.
The answers to these questions will define your business model, which may (or may not) be a combination of bricks and mortar and e-business. But you’d better find out for sure. Staying alive sure beats the alternative.
Has your business successfully built a bridge to the new economy? How has your job changed as a result of this?