The ‘digital world’ becomes an important course of our lives with the internet access: it quickens as the communication tools continue to be mobile, integrated and affordable. For generations after the 1970s (Y, Z), it is already ‘real’. With easy access to information, efficiency, convenience, time and labour savings, and the ability to easily reach varieties and alternatives, the winners of the internet world are the people who offer their customers the “best experience” in time.

Amazon.com promises to offer its customers the products they want at the best price and successfully fulfill them. Personalization, one-click operation, the possibility of specifying customers’ tastes, etc. are now the natural features of websites. The number of successful internet sites in the world is growing. Besides the websites that address customers’ basic needs such as Msn.com.tr in Turkey, yemeksepeti.com, sporx.com, araba.com, sahibinden.com, gittigidiyor.com, there are all other sites such as careers, news, shopping, banking and institutions that advance in the right direction. Web, Portal, e-commerce site, Market Place,… does not matter; what is important for business is to deliver an effective experience. The ones that cannot keep up with this course will be eliminated; there is no way out!

Above all, we need access to reliable information quickly, anywhere, anytime. The speed of the internet and communication network infrastructure, uninterrupted, processing from anywhere; internet browser speed, compatibility with applications, security and search functions are critical.

And then, ‘content’. Internet content is available for each dimension of life. Internet has become a common meeting point for those who easily want to buy food, drink, homeware and furniture for their homes; buy flowers for their balconies, cosmetics for themselves, cell phones for their partners, clothes for the children and even siding, solar power, plumbing, roofing; travel organizations, car rental, hotel reservations, banking and payment transactions, school registration, passport and visa procedures; office furniture, books and computers and etc.

The skills that the suppliers should have, are to assure ‘users’ needs’ among so many options; what they wish for, their desires, bring up the related and affordable options quickly and efficiently and impress them. Isn’t it amazing to think that one day in the future it will be possible to smell and even feel the texture of the chosen products and the possibility of internet shopping according to the users’ size and standards?

Right at this point, the user who is looking for information/content goes through the ‘evaluation’ stage. Thus, brand perception, advice from a friend and life experiences are being activated. Oftentimes your potential customer will be impressed by a traditional/digital advertising and marketing, experience in the store, the sales representative, packaging, product, usage, delivery and payment experiences, Call Center support and internet experience. Altogether, these experiences will create an opinion in the customers’ subconscious. When it comes to make a decision, these experiences will make an impact on the associative brand: Go to ‘your brand and your products’ or move on to the next option quickly. The way to be successful with your website and e-commerce is to design the product, services and all other interaction points with precision and deliver a good experience. Brand awareness is important.

Research companies indicate that ‘80% of our buying (purchasing) decision depends on the brand, the product, the services provided to other users and/or your trusted friends and on the comments they make.’ Especially in developing countries.

In developed countries, there is a tendency to share an opinion over social media (such as comparing the price and product features, having consumer product reviews sites, etc.) instead of word of mouth marketing. Such environments put the user/consumer and supplier together in the same interactive websites. So, the supplier has a chance to find out the consumers’ needs and satisfaction and react immediately. In response, the consumer wants to have access to real, accurate and relevant information!

Today, consumers still have concerns about online shopping safety. However, these concerns are minimized by the guarantee of credit card centers, banks, security software and communication tools as the payments market is changing from cash to checks, from cards to online payments to payments using mobile devices.

The consumer expects; the product ordered to be delivered at a guaranteed or estimated delivery time as mentioned or requested by the consumer on the website and to the address where it is stated; in case of any trouble, to be receiving an outstanding support and service. We all know that small things make huge difference. I don’t think I have to remind you the effects of customer satisfaction, brand perception and customer loyalty after-sales… Dear suppliers; making the consumer’s next buying (purchasing) decision easier, is in your hands!

Consumers are overwhelmed by all the constant deluge of advertising, campaigns, and promotions. They don’t want any confusion anymore. They don’t want to be ripped off their time and energy. The consumers want to have the option of initiating and choosing their own needs when they want, how they want them. And they also don’t want to have obstacles such as some warnings saying ‘you cannot proceed if you are not a member/fill in the form/fill in the survey, when they try to access the website… It reminds me of bodyguards at some restaurants! Then why did you invite me to your site?

I have a dream: where I may access to specialized services such as plumber, carpenter, glasscutter, wall paperer, painter with one-click; where I may reach the certificates, experiences, competencies, prices, examples on works done and customer reviews of the authorized organizations and where I may trust that they will do a good job. I will know that I don’t have to worry.

If only I could find similar competencies in professional service and consultancy for business.

Release: KOBI-EFOR February 2011