September 25, 2008

The Customer Is In Charge

On a sale from 1 to 5, where a one implies that we are simply feckless consumers bowing at the knees of commerce giants, and a five suggests that commerce giants are at the mercy of a Web 2.0 empowered shopper who gets to call the shots, where do you think the customer stands, here at the end of 2008?

After the events of the past few weeks, my vote is for a "1". And I have an endless array of anecdotes to back up my position.


  1. Most consumers are "ones", that's the mass market. But, the others will be a small groups with potentially strong preferences, better for targeted marketing. Is this a surprise? Do you suggest a means of isolating these groups? Do share the anecdotes...

  2. If those customers are better for targeted marketing, then by default, they are ones or twos, because they aren't in charge, they are there to be targeted, right?

  3. Anonymous9:41 AM

    Comparison shopping services, products reviews, and comments are becoming mainstream services for lots of products these days. I'd say we are at a three. Why do you say we are ones?

    Now, we are seeing more product companies incorporating comments into their ecommerce offering since the data shows that comments help sell products. We all ask our friends what products they like - now the conversation is happening in the e-store.

  4. Those are good examples of progress, so I would agree you on those areas.

    A few months ago, I got a new mortgage. I had to pay a $560 fee for the right to pay my own mortgage and property taxes and homeowners insurance, paying them outside of an escrow account. I suppose I was in charge, but it cost me $560 to be in charge.

    I sold my home recently. I paid every penny for what I owed on the mortgage, even though my home dropped twenty percent in value. I kept up my end of the bargain. And now, I'll help bail out everybody who got into a bad mortgage, and the banks who created the problem. I'm not in charge there.

    As a self-employed individual, I have to pay for my health care out of my pocket, and am subject to discrimination on pre-existing conditions. And yet, I pay taxes so that government employees can have access to health care. I'm not in charge on this one.

    So yes, there are areas where folks are more in charge, no doubt. You illustrate good examples.


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