5 Consumer Mega-Trends Leave Local Businesses at Risk
Chicago, IL, USA - According to Scott Metcalfe, Chief Strategist with FetchLocalCustomers.com, local businesses need to harness five emerging Mega-Trends in consumer purchasing behavior if they hope to thrive over the next 3-5 years. These trends, driven largely by technology, will forever change the way consumers gather information and decide which local products and services to buy.
“It really concerns me how ill-prepared most local businesses are to take advantage of these mega shifts in consumer purchasing behavior. These shifts will affect all our local businesses – retailers, professionals like accountants, attorneys, dentists, and cosmetic surgeons, and home service companies like remodelers, HVAC companies, painters, roofers, and plumbers. You name any local business and they will be impacted – either with more business or less. ” says Metcalfe.
In a study by FetchLocalCustomers.com in June, 2010 just 54% of the small local companies polled had websites. Less than 1% had even basic online marketing systems in place to attract, qualify and educate potential new customers automatically.
Kathleen Rudy, VP of Operations draws this analogy “In some ways the local and regional businesses are in the same position the cable television companies found themselves in the 1980s. At that time money had been poured into infrastructure and yet profits could not be generated until the last 100 yards of cable to each and every home had been installed. Many local businesses have spent money on websites, email marketing and other tactical infrastructure hoping for a positive return and it’s all just been a cost so far. What they need now is for their “last hundred yards” to be installed which is a proven way to combine these different pieces with other missing components into a complete marketing system that delivers new customers and new profits. Until that time the money already spent will remain costs, not investments.”
So What Are These 5 Mega-Trends?
According to Metcalfe, the 5 Mega-Trends are:
1. No longer relying upon traditional media to gather information
2. Using online review sites as “trusted” referral sources
3. Rapidly embracing smart phones and other mobile devices to instantly access the internet for decision making information
4. Avoiding salespeople altogether by instead gathering relevant information electronically when and how they want it.
5. Using the internet, particularly search engines, to locate and acquire the information they need to make purchasing decisions
Metcalfe adds “There is still a lot of information and knowledge friction present at the local product and service level. What I mean by friction, is the effort or work to gain the knowledge needed for consumers to make what they believe are good decisions. Because few businesses have embraced these emerging trends consumers are working far harder than necessary to acquire the information and knowledge they want and need.”
A Tremendous Opportunity for the “First Movers”
These mega-trends hold tremendous opportunity for those few local businesses, retailers and professionals who move first to develop complete online marketing systems. “Think back 15 years ago to how Amazon removed the friction to researching, locating and purchasing books. Now think about how difficult it still is to understand how to buy HVAC services, accounting services or chiropractic services at the local level and you can get an appreciation of how these trends are creating opportunity” says an impassioned Metcalfe.
Zero Sum Games Filled with a Few Winners and a Lot of Losers
Rudy wraps up with this sobering thought. “Today, most businesses are playing in markets that are not growing, in other words, they are zero sum games. So every customer a business gets is one less for its competitors and vice-versa. These trends are large and moving with enough speed that those local providers who do not act quickly and decisively are going to find themselves with fewer and fewer customers. Since the new technologies reward those who come first, late players may never be able to catch up and many will undoubtedly fail"
FetchLocalCustomers is based near Chicago, IL and serves local and regional professional practices, businesses, and retailers throughout the United States. FetchLocalCustomers brings new customers to their clients by using search marketing strategies. They make sure their clients’ websites are found when consumers are searching, and that consumers are offered the information they need to make the decision to buy. FetchLocalCustomers can be reached on the internet at www.FetchLocalCustomers.com, by phone at 888.505.6162, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact Information
- Kathleen Rudy
- VP of Operations
- Contact via E-mail
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