Why the Internet is Good for You
One of the magazines I regularly read is BtoB: I learn so much about marketing from reading that. But last week, as I leafed through a two-month-old issue, I read something that surprised me (and not in a cake-and-balloons way).
The writer claims that a friend who is a car dealer is having a difficult time, and then goes on to say that consumer electronics is a “horrible business”. Now that phrase caught my eye, so I went back and read from the beginning to see if I’d understood wrong. But no, the reason why these businesses are so bad now? It’s that customers have information.
But as a consumer, the easy access to information we have right now is an amazing boon. As Gillin points out, if I want to buy a new laptop, I won’t go to a shop to decide what to buy: I will compare not just specs but also reviews and prices right from home. I’ll find out what shop to buy from, and if I can get it cheaper in another city (or really, another country: the laptop I’m working on right now came from the US when my husband was over there on a business trip and he ordered it online and brought it over).
Of course, this means that local businesses aren’t doing as well. (My neighborhood computer store in Pune—that guy we go to when we have computer trouble—didn’t make a commission on my laptop. But hey, he’s smart enough to not mind and is extremely helpful when we go to him. He even advised us on what laptop to buy when he knew we weren’t buying from him. He gets the new economy.)