NEW CONSUMERSâ€™ CAPABILITIES
The digital revolution has placed a whole new set of capabilities in the hands of consumers and businesses. Consider what consumers have today that they didnâ€™t have yesterday.
A substantial increase in buying power:
Buyers today are only a click away from comparing competitor prices and product attributes. They can get answers on the internet in a matter of seconds. They donâ€™t need to drive to stores, park, wait on line, and hold discussions with salespeople. Consumers can even name the price they want to pay for a hotel room, airline ticket, or mortgage, and see if there are any willing suppliers. Business buyers can run a reverse auction where sellers compete to capture the buyerâ€™s business. Buyers can join with others to aggregate their purchases to achieve deeper volume discounts.
A greater variety of available goods and services:
Today a person can order almost anything over the Internet —- furniture (Ethan Allen), washing machines (Sears), management consulting (â€œErnieâ€?), Medical advice (WebMD). Amazon.com advertises itself as the worldâ€™s largest bookstore, with over 3 million books; no physical bookstore can match this. Furthermore, buyers can order these goods from anywhere in the world, which helps people living in countries with very limited local offerings to achieve great savings. It also means that buyers in countries with high prices can reduce their costs by ordering in countries with lower prices.
A great amount of information about practically anything:
People can read almost any newspaper in any language from anywhere in the world. They can access online encyclopedias, dictionaries, medical information, movie ratings, consumer reports, and countless other information sources.
A greater ease in interacting and placing and receiving orders:
Todayâ€™s buyers can place orders from home, office, or mobile phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and the orders will be delivered to their home or office quickly
An ability to compare notes on products and services:
Todayâ€™s customers can enter a chat room centered on some area of common interest and exchange information and opinions.
Marketplaces, Market spaces and Meta markets:
Today we can distinguish between a marketplace and market space. The marketplace is physical, as when you shop in a store; market space is digital, as when you shop on the Internet.
The concept of a meta market is a cluster of complementary products and services that are closely related in the minds of consumers but are spread across a diverse set of industries. The automobile meta market consists of automobile manufacturers, new car and used car dealers, financing companies, insurance companies, mechanics, spare parts dealers, service shops, auto magazines, classified auto ads in newspapers, and auto sites on the internet. In purchasing a car, a buyer will get involved in many parts of this meta market, and this has created an opportunity for meta-mediaries to assist buyers to move seamlessly through these groups, although they are disconnected in physical space. One example is Edmundâ€™s (www.edmunds.com), a Web site where a car buyer can find the stated features and prices of different automobiles and easily click to other sites to search for the lowest price dealer, for financing, for car accessories, and for used cars at bargain prices. Metamediaries can also serve other meta markets such as the home ownership market, the parenting and baby care market, and the wedding market etc.