I was reminded of a time in the late 80's and early 90's when the battle cry around many communities was "we have to stop Walmart!!" and the public outcry of what Walmart would do to the local businesses. There are so many similarities between the rise of Walmart and the rise of the Internet but the common thread to how we, as local/small businesses can compete against them hasn't changed: service.
The initial panic felt by retailers when Walmart moved to town eventually gave way to the realization that while Walmart might have cheaper products,they also aren't very good at helping you find the product that you need, or worse yet, they know very little about the products themselves. So, smart retailers upped their game with service and knowledge and the consumers who demanded better remained loyal. Walmart replaced the bottom retailers but the top stores survived.
The internet's strength compared to Walmart is that it has infinite levelsof research materials on the same device where you're shopping. There really is almost no excuse for failing to make an educated decision withan online purchase, right?
Besides, after doing all the research prior to purchase you can also read reviews from other consumers and see what they think, right?
Well...here's the problem. The internet lies. I know, Iknow...I'm shocked, too.
Just for fun, go ahead and search "Amazon review fake percentages". You'll find countless articles stating anywhere from forty to sixty percent of online reviews as being fraudulent. This one from Forbes is a good start.
Most studies agree that 80% of communication is non-verbal. So…if 50% of what’s online is untrue and 80%of what’s communicated via written words (and by extension, online) falls through the cracks is it any wonder that people who shop online are continually disappointed?
The consumers are going to figure out that it’s still (and always was) better to shop face-to-face than online. It doesn’t mean Amazon is going away, of course, but it does mean there will be a shift back to traditional shopping as consumers try and try and try to “save money” and ultimately decide to buy from a brand, face and company they trust.