Before online advertisement became widespread, the common types of advertisements used mediums such as TV, magazine and billboards – what is now known as traditional media. Most buyers negotiated costs for 30 seconds ads with the local television station or radio station or how much a ¼ page advert cost in the local newspaper. There was no means to directly engage with customers, and no ways to interactively improve the advertisements voice or message.
In the not so distant past, having a website and a few door-to-door salesmen was what it took to be successful. We all know that this isn’t the case anymore. In today’s world, the computer is an integral part of the commerce experience. Computers know what you’re interested in and what you spend time looking at. Sites like Amazon, Google and Facebook provide lots of shopping options, and take careful note of items purchased in the past. Whether you’ve found items that you were willing to purchase or not, Amazon.com and Google take note of both what you have purchased in the past and what you’ve looked at recently. They have captured your virtual self and taken not of your intent – maybe even if you haven’t – consciously. This is the new world of Internet commerce.
Accurately anticipating your consumers’ wishes and desires, while paying attention to that individual’s perception of themselves, paying attention to individuals loyalties and affiliations is a value proposition that consumers appear to be willing to engage in. Google’s Google Now and Amazon.com are two recent implementations of this phenomenon. Both require that the user identify himself or herself, or opt-in, to uniquely identify themselves. This opt-in requirement allows a tailor-made experience for the user. It allows both Google and Amazon to act as a virtual concierge for the individual – alerting the customer to opportunities that they have demonstrated interest in, or are likely to demonstrate interest in.
The customer’s willing participation provides the service the data necessary to intuit the customer’s intent. A well designed website with user friendly layout provides the customer with an easy opportunity to complete engagement. Most importantly, this symbiotic relationship allows the customer to be their own marketer, providing huge value to both merchant and customer alike.