At a seminar that I attended recently, the discussion turned to, what else, but the new consumer and how she has changed. But the consumer has always been an evolving species, so what’s new?
In my view, what differentiates this customer, who belongs to the most connected and socially engaged generation in the history of mankind, is her ability to influence. Not just the actions of people within and outside her circle, but that of industry, of nations,
indeed the globe. We’re seeing obvious signs of this influence in a new brand of commerce that is mobile, “micro” and inclusive, and which like its consumer, is less about the individual transaction and more about universal engagement. Let’s look at each in
As 5 billion people use their mobile devices in their daily lives to connect instantly or download on demand, they’re bringing the same expectations to all other consumption. Hence, in the new mobilized commerce, everything – from capital and information to
people and goods – needs to be more accessible. By enabling anytime anywhere connectivity between the people, information and resources of an organization, enterprise mobility is helping businesses become more productive and efficient. At the same time, mobile
commerce and transaction technologies have broken down barriers of time and distance such that consumers can do so much – whether it is make a purchase or deposit a check – from virtually anywhere, at any time.
Small is the new beautiful. The smarter new consumer believes in doing more with less, especially when she consumes. She’s forcing businesses to rethink size to maximize value for her money. So, it’s a song instead of an album, and prepaid airtime instead
of an annual plan. But the consumer isn’t the only one to benefit. Highly successful businesses have been built on the massive transaction volumes ushered in by micro commerce, which has also given rise to innovative delivery channels like Internet, mobile,
IPTV and social networks; new delivery models designed for “pay per use” or small units of consumption; and alternative payment systems from the likes of PayPal and Zopa.
For years, businesses couldn’t tap the enormous market at the bottom of the pyramid and also small mainstream niches because it wasn’t feasible to do so.
Well, not any more. A strong partner eco-system, seamless integration and a secure transaction environment have together ushered in a new commerce, which recognizes every consumer’s right to be included and served. Once again, the new consumer plays a pivotal
role – hitherto unknown – as a participant in the supply ecosystem by co-creating with its other members and providing valuable feedback over online and social media. Mobile technology is the lynchpin of inclusive commerce, not only making it possible for
a consumer in the remotest of locations to transact, but do so securely.