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Is Internet Marketing Killing Customer Loyalty?
Customers now control the sales conversion, and the Internet is what enables them to do so.
I recall many years ago (before the commercialization of the Internet) a co-worker bought an old fax machine specifically for purposes of buying a new car. He faxed instructions to several dealers, told them exactly what he wanted in terms of make, model, options, colors, etc.
He said he would be coming into one showroom on a certain date to buy the car. He invited them to fax him their best price. Through this process, he was able to obtain a very good price with a very small investment of his time.
Now everyone can do that, for almost everything they buy.
It’s happening in every industry. An article on FoodNavigator claims just 9% of us have a “primary” grocery store. The rest of us are willing to make multiple stops to get good deals. On average we use 2.5 stores to fulfill our grocery needs.
This loss of customer loyalty is due to various factors. I believe the two most important are:
- Large corporations are not loyal to us. The Internet is littered with stories of consumers feeling screwed by major companies over trivial issues.
- The Internet gives the consumer an enormous amount of information with which do research and gather information. Consumers have never been as well prepared for their sales conversations as they are today.
All this is great when you’re buying.
What about when you’re selling?
Brand Loyalty is Truly Few and Far Between
I may be too small a data sample, but I personally am only loyal to only one brand, and the brand is Americas Tires (or Discount Tires depending on what part of the US you’re in).
It’s because years ago they shocked me by fixing a flat tire, then not charging me. They asked only that I remember them when I next needed tires. I did.
Their prices are good, I’m in and out fairly quickly, and when I have a flat, I know they’ll fix it quickly and for free (which they have).
I have two good friends who both hate mega corporations and want to strongly support local businesses.
However, they each buy A LOT from Amazon.com. Even household cleaning supplies. Why? Because Amazon makes it so easy. Buying from Amazon is so easy they’re extremely loyal to a brand they claim to hate.
As a Seller What Replaces Customer Loyalty?
If you’re not sure how to shock your customers into loyalty as Americas Tires did for me, you need to rely on the Internet.
Partially to be as easy to buy from as possible, but mostly just to be found by people going online to do research.
As long as customers are willing to churn us (and most are), we must find a way to stay in the conversation, as much as we can, and that conversion starts with them going online to do research.
This means committing to your online presence.
You don’t need an online presence as strong as Amazon’s, but if you’re not showing up on page 1 of Google for relevant search terms, you’ve got work to do. The future of your business depends on it.
You also need to learn about link building.SEO Needs Link Building