Monday, December 05, 2005

Caveat venditor

Let the vendor beware! This is a new era of customer empowerment; we've probably all seen the cartoon with a small fish about to be eaten by a larger fish, who is in turn about to be eaten by a huge school of tiny fish. For this metaphor to hold true in the world of online retailing, all of the "little fish" (the customers) must choose to move together. One small indescretion is unlikely to make this happen. What careless or clueless vendors often overlook is that each small interaction you have with a "tiny fish" is a tiny bit of motivation - it may be positive, negative, or neutral - to act later. Each customer you have encountered is inclined to feel some way about your business, and in this new world of online flash crowds, reaching the tipping point can have some substantially deleterious effects. Is the balance in your account positive or negative?