On What Side Of The Online Marketplace Would You Rather Be?
It has become typical of any brick and mortar retail business to have some sort of ecommerce or online retail infrastructure available to its operations as a matter of keeping with the times. A strong online presence helps companies reach out into customers that do not have the time or the patience to make actual store visits. This is what a company website usually offers consumers: A peek into what they offer plus the opportunity to perhaps conveniently make a purchase online.
Company websites that are primarily retail-oriented however are extensions of what companies offer customers in offline retail situation minus the hands-on experiences that the latter enjoys with store visits. Because of this, customers who buy online rely solely on information accessed from the site and in some cases, testimonials from friends in social media (if the company or brand engages in such).
Out with the Middleman
As a business owner with a traditional online presence ongoing you also face competition from business rivals also doing retail the same way you do: Brick and mortar but with online retail support. In recent years however, the competition has gone beyond that. The online marketplace has also seen the rise of a new breed of online business enterprises that do not do business the same way you or your usual business rivals do. There are online companies out to take the middleman (that could be you) out of the business equation to make customers think twice.
Like Craiglist or eBay, there are new marketplaces that have a more concentrated focus on every industry offering features that could enable both sellers to offer their wares and buyers to offer their bids. The ensuing exchange of information, goods, and currency in both directions characterize the new online retail process. Effectively, customers have become knowledgeable about this process and this is becoming the biggest retail disruption to confront traditional retail companies and their online retail operations. In such a situation, on what side of the online marketplace would you rather be?
What this Means
Two-sided marketplaces are in effect disruption business models owing to the fact that they disrupt the normal flow of retail action among traditional retail companies. When customers find it easier, more convenient and even more cost-efficient to get their hands on high quality goods or services without having to deal with traditional buying processes that could be more expensive — there lies the disruption. Suffice to say, this means advantageous competition for disruption business models.
To hem in this kind of disruption would require serious rethinking of retail strategies since you might possibly be on the losing side of the online marketplace. Room for potential survival against disruption business models could perhaps be achieved once business owners become mindful of the following:
Be aware that customers can get what they want from each other. This is what AirBnB offers tourists much to the woe of hotel chains; or what transport “services” like Lyft and Uber offer commuters much to the chagrin of taxi companies. Keep in mind that disruption business models could also have the same customer connectivity tech available to them like say a VoIP PBX or an IT infra built for ecommerce just like those used by traditional retailers. Technologies like these hasten the process even more.
It’s second nature to the Internet. The Internet has always been the bailiwick of online retail where people could deal directly with other people for retail action minus the intermediation of corporations. This is something no one could ever change.
The disruption could only grow larger. Disruption business models are segmenting marketplaces online in increasing proportions as consumers grow more and more dependent on online tech for retail activities. This has driven disruption business model “tycoons” to up their game by improving their user interfaces, providing more focused content for specific niche markets, and engaging consumers more via social media.