Okay, so you have been keeping up with the innovations, the changes in consumer purchasing and interests, what brands are popular, what brands are not popular, and what new technology is going to roll off the assembly line tomorrow. For others, it’s everything they can do to keep up with the speed of technology—for instance, it was less than half a year that Apple introduced the iPhone G3 after the G2, when the G2 was still on many people’s shopping lists.
Those of us in the know tend to forget that while the constant changing, vast world of digital technology and the internet is a part of everyday lives, both in the workplace and at home, there are many colleagues, clients, friends, and family who are—for want of a better term—still stuck in the Twentieth Century: they still have that trusty workhorse desktop they bought in 1998, they still use a modem to connect to cyberspace, email is still a new method of communication, and they have never heard of the term “Web 2.0.”
This holds true for the business world. Time and again, we have to shake the team head , amazed that there are CEOs, COOs, and Presidents of companies out there who desire a greater online presence for their company but know very little of the Internet, how to go about marketing to it, where to turn, or what they even want and need for their company. They have “heard” that there are millions of potential customers they can reach via the Internet, but they do not understand such concepts as Search Engine Optimization, meta tags, key words, or how corporate blogs work to enhance their presence in the digital realm of marketing. They may rely on hiring people to take care of these matters for them, but this does not aid them understanding how these marketing methods works, let alone keeping up on the technology of tomorrow that will make the technology of today obsolete.
In The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach, academics Daniel Miller and Don Slatter examine the online community as an anthropologist would any culture, whether big or small, in the United States or on a remote island. Miller and Slater note that before the World Wide Web really took off as a business platform “what was needed was a ‘test case,’ one really big and high-profile Internet enterprise or website that would clearly demonstrate to the business community the value of being online” (p. 145). They cite that the website that did this was for the 48th Miss Universe Competition of 1999. The amount of hits that cite received, and the consumer benefits experienced by the Miss Universe sponsors, caused business ventures all over the world to take notice: here was a brand new platform to reach millions of clients and customers. Why hadn’t they realized this before?
So is this true? Before 1999, did few brands and businesses make use of an online presence? Was there a time when very little corporate business was being conducted online? This is quite true. Online consumerism, the way we know it today, has existed less than a decade. It is still new, very exciting, and rapidly changing.
The question is this: are you ready to jump in and keep up?
The Next Big Thing could be right under your nose. All you need to do is smell the air and the changes in that air. Consider the online riches to be reaped in 2009 from—yes, ecommerce! The days of Web 3.0 and 4.0 are not far away. 2009 could be a goldmine for smart e-tailers, who, if they get their act together now, could make billions and billions of dollars, euros, pounds, yen, kroner, lira and rand that are impatiently waiting to be spent by web-savvy consumers around the world.
In 2009, spend blood, sweat and tears on improving your ecommerce presence; the pay-off will be immediate, and far more substantial than investing in Web 2.0 standards that will be obsolete when you wake up the next day.