Share the post "The rise and rise of Intermediaries."
Most brands across sectors are working on improving their e-channel business contribution.
In this light, it is important for marketers to understand the dynamics and power of new and online intermediaries in any online marketplace.
The e-channel would be distinctly different from the channels that brand owners and business practitioners have experienced during their real working in the real world. The virtual world has a different set of players and influencers – who would play significantly important roles in determining the success and failure of brands.
In fact, the role played by Intermediaries is a fascination in itself – that should excite the practitioners as they go about their objective of building brand salience in this virtual space.
Today, the intermediaries are getting to take on larger than life proportions themselves. In India, aggregators in the Travel & tourism space have got to be larger than expected – makemytrip, cleartrip, travelguru are examples. This may be seen as a harbinger of things to come in other categories as well in the coming future.
Rest assured, the fancy retail outlet that you have set up for your luxury brand at the vantage location on the High Street or at that latest Happening Mall downtown is going to have a new crop of consumers. No,, one is not saying that the consumer demographics have been mapped wrong. You are going to come across consumers who believe in the adage:
See Offline-Test Offline- Feel Offline- Compare Online-Buy Online or Offline.
What will this behavior leave your Store Manager or Franchisee to manage?
The new consumer spends hours online ( apart from doing it offline) hunting down the lowest fare for her Delhi-Montreal-Delhi trip, the best price for that new LG LCD television, the cheapest copy of Jeffrey Archer’s Prisoner of Birth or even the ticket to the Friday release of Hollywood.
The Shopzillas, Pricegrabbers,Shopping.coms Kelkoos, Froogles, Bechnas, and Roboshoppers of this world will instantly find consumers what has become known by terrified retailers as the ‘Internet Price’.
Brands will have to handle this scenario and come up with the Guarantees in the new world.
Best Price Guarantee
Price Comparison & Niche
When there’s mass, there’s going to be niche. Expect plenty of dedicated, one-category only price comparison sites, adding to full transparency.
findstrollers.com and findbabyseats.com (baby strollers and seats)
healthpricer.com and vimo.com (health)
lensprice.com and findcontactlenses.com (contact lenses)
Price Comparison & Forecasting
In today’s times of promotions and competition, consumers increasingly expect brands to pamper them with valuable offers, so as to be one up on other brands. This only helps promote services like forecasting!
It is fair to expect forecasting services like www.Farecast.com to pop-up. Billing itself as the first airfare prediction website, Farecast offers airfare predictions from over 75 US departure cities to top domestic destinations. Users can check if fares are rising or dropping,
and are provided with recommendations on when to buy.
In an amazingly transparent world, it is unlikely for a consumer to settle for anything substandard – unless by choice. It will not be by accident or lack of information, as in the past.
Changes in consumer behavior and technology all point toward an even more transparent
marketplace in the near future. Not to mention a more transparent society.
So ditch ‘discussions’ on whether this will impact your business or not, and get going.
Handling Negative Reviews – Some thoughts and tips:
• Start by analyzing the sales contribution already influenced by consumer reviews and recommendations. Is your business coming in from referrals primarily. How? Well… Ask your customers! Conduct Research. Do it Online if you do not have deep pockets for U&A research. If this percentage is high, this will give you good ammunition to convince Senior Management to come up with a Marketng Action Plan Pronto..
• Action points should be aimed at reducing the negative statements and increasing the positives. Simple as Saying Cheese. Negative reviews will disappear if you as a brand perform better, and, if something does go wrong, deal with it immediately. Most ‘bad’ reviews have to do with customers not being able to reach you or not getting problems addressed well and soon.
Positive reviews are most welcome. They would grow in volume more plentifully if you
i) are seen as doing better in response to negative reviews sent earlier , and
ii)provide pleased customers the means and platform to share their experiences. This platform can be your own site, or possibly through through syndication with third party review sites (like some independent hotels have started doing with TripAdvisor). There is nothing more pleasing to customers than being appreciates for their feedback. If consumers are going to post about their experiences anyway, there’s definitely merit in presenting these reviews (all of them!) on your own site.
At least this will give you a chance to immediately react, displaying your reaction (and how you solved an issue) for all to see.
• As regards Price Comparison, there is not way you can avoid this. The best solution to price comparison and Me-Too products is to differentiate your service or product uniquely. So Uniquely that you cannot be compared!!
Tags: Aggregator websites, Interactive Marketing, online intermediaries
Iridium Interactive is an Innovative Business Solutions company that helps some of the world’s leading brands solve their business problems.
Our Vision is “To transform the power of Creativity and Technology intomeasurable Competitive advantage through Innovation, Collaboration, Agility & Excellence to become one of the world’s foremost user centric solutions provider”
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