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What has the Internet changed in business...and personal shopping?

We know the Internet has changed the way we do business...and the way we purchase goods and services. Parenting is even affected..."Google it and tell me what you find" has replaced the tired "I don't know, let's look that up next time we go to the library."

But what specifically has changed?

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (what a name!) issued forecasts about how the Internet has changed and is changing retail shopping. Core changes are:

  • Online commerce
  • Greater transparency in product information
  • PR ramifications

But the devil is in the details!

Consumers now have an easy way to research product information and comparison shop.

While the research report states that this will further reduce the value and need for reail workers -- I tend to think it is in response to inadequate customer service found in most retail establishments.

Auction sites are an Internet phenomenon of note. And other electronically-facilitiated commerce is also taking a bite out of the shopping dollar.

The Internet allows consumers and activists to rapidly share informatin and opinions about companies and products. Both positive and negative. Consuemrs use blogs and social networking sites such as YouTube as bully pulpits!

Consumer pressures from these social sites could help fuel political pressure on retailers to do business differently. Maybe greener. Maybe greater social responsibility. Maybe local and sustainable practices like improving labor practices.

All these trends can be used by retailers just as effectively as by consumers and public organizations. New methods of communicating are being refined -- such as subtle messages and rapid viral distribution of ideas.

New media strategies are arriving wave after wave and each new wave of youngsters lead the charge as they earn their first wings of freedom...and use them in the marketplace....your marketplace.

New media is about more than promotion. It's about business strategy that affects inventory, distribution channels, customer service as well as marketing communications. Communications has moved upstream -- it's no longer about designing a well-crafted ad. It's about people Internetting with people.