August 26, 2014

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Merchandise Forensics

Think about how differently retailers, e-commerce folks, and catalogers are asked to view their business from Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

The retail brand is told that they must be "omnichannel", or they are "dead". Sounds fun. They're told that they must invest in back-end solutions that improve the supply chain and communicate to the customer that a dress is not available at Southcenter, but can be shipped from Northgate and be at the shopper's home in forty-eight hours. The focus is on channels and operations.

Google, Facebook, and Twitter have two audiences.
  • Audience #1 = You. You are the merchandise. Make no mistake about it.
  • Audience #2 = Advertisers. These folks are the customer.
Now, it is the job of Google, Facebook, and Twitter to make sure that their merchandise is as valuable as possible. When the merchandise is amazingly valuable, then advertisers (their customers) pay them for the merchandise.

What do Google, Facebook, and Twitter do well?
  • They constantly find new merchandise (that's you).
  • They constantly develop "winners", merchandise that performs really well. This may be the shopper who clicks on different links on Google, for instance, or the demographic that enables Twitter to slip a Miller Lite ad into the timeline. Either way, Google, Facebook, and Twitter all work to cultivate great merchandise (that's you), so that their customers (advertisers) have a lot of great merchandise (that's you) to choose from.
Keep this in mind the next time you are told that you must focus on channels and back-end operations. The focus in retail and e-commerce is backwards, and makes no sense whatsoever. Focus on your customer, and the merchandise that customers love.