Begs the question - where's the innovation?
The offline world has many ready parallels that haven't even started getting explored online. When I think of a purchase, a store profile/segment immediately pops into my head. Some are about VFM, some about quality, some about customer service and follow-up, some about choice, and some about "spending time in the store"! This varies by product/category. Where are those parallels online? What does a store stand for?
Then there's the whole "browse" experience. Doing grocery is also a distraction for a boring afternoon for some. How do I discover new stuff? How do I chance upon products I didn't come to buy? How do I quickly compare across 2 different produts/pacjage sizes? How do I check for ingredients? Whom do I ask questions?
Of course, products that depend on touch/feel, tryouts, experience-based research are much tougher online.
Finally, the offline world offers "extras". A coffee outlet in store/next door. A few books to browse. Neighbours to catch up with.
The carrots of "convenience" and "choice" aren't strong enough. Many stores have more choice, and in the Indian context, I usually have multiple options within a 10 minute walk, and most guys deliver.
Ecommerce needs to innovate. And quick. Burning a lot of cash and hoping some sticks is way too short sighted.
What can they do?
1. Curate.Take a stand.
Take a call. Say "these are the best phones in category X" - partner with reviewers etc for this, or evolve a democratic tool/model. Take a stand for something healthy, something green, something ethical, something thta's good value. Be visible as batting for the consumer, and making an effort for it.
2. Play Consultant.
The offline world has learned this well over the last decade. In store service and staff training has improved a lot. One tends to be a little lost when starting to look for a phone/TV/laptop/car tyre/bag/whatever. Play a friend and consultant. Include some crowdsourced wisdom if possible.
3. Get back. Stay Involved.
Get consumer feedback about products/brands they buy. What worked, what didn't. Be seen to be concerned about the quality of various aspects of the store. Bring in experts and help for conversations, advice around big ticket purchases. "Are you using your TV optiimally?" "How do you keep the battery healthy?" "Recipes to cook healthy".
4. Ancilliary Services
Stuff breaks, needs repair, tech support, cleaning, maintenance. Make sure you get involved in helping customer derive better value, longer.
Its too transactional right now, and that shows in the bargain hunting behaviour the consumer exhibits online. Someone's got to change that.
- Start with something transactional/low risk. Even if you intend to solve longer term problems, drive stickiness, etc. Tryouts are important.
- Get a dealmaker or two on your side. Easier said than done, of course :)
- Do NOT pay users to use stuff. It might give you a spike, but it isn't worth it. Avoid freebies, except for being thankful.
- Persist :) The curve will take its time. Goes hand in hand with lean-burn too.
Posted by sameer at Saturday, January 22, 2011
This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does notaccept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hello,While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently displayingGoogle ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. Forinstance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such ashttp://entrypreneur.blogspot.com/2009/11/catching-entrepreneurial-bug-side.html.Please note that this URL is an example and that the same violations mayexist on other pages of your website.As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers may not displayGoogle ads on pages with adult or mature content. While we understand thatit may be challenging to monitor user-generated content, such as comments,on your site, we require publishers to check that the webpages containingtheir ad code complies with our program policies.Please make any necessary changes to your webpages in the next 72 hours.We also suggest that you take the time to review our program policies(https://www.google.com/support/adsense/bin/answer.py?answer=48182&stc=aspe-1pp-en)to ensure that all of your other pages are in compliance.Once you update your site, we will automatically detect the changes and adserving will not be affected. If you choose not to make the changes toyour account within the next three days, your account will remain activebut you will no longer be able to display ads on the site. Please note,however, that we may disable your account if further violations are foundin the future.Thank you for your cooperation.Sincerely,The Google AdSense TeamIssue ID# 166xxxxx----------------For more information regarding this warning email, please visit our HelpCenter:https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=113058&stc=aspe-ai4-en.