The tables have turned. Empowered by technology and each other, today’s consumers have declared, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
Consumers always had agency, but never power. Now they have both. But many companies have not fully realized the extent of this shift.
This power inversion is perhaps the greatest change to our consumer economy in centuries. Companies that do not understand this shift and refocus their investment, resources, and energies to maximize their customer relationships will struggle in the new world.
Consumers now have almost unlimited access to information and products, which makes loyalty hard to earn and easy to lose. They can easily find a different product they prefer or a similar product at a price they prefer at a different brand or retailer – or even from the brand manufacturer directly. More importantly, social platforms have given consumers megaphones, enabling them to discover new products, read and write peer reviews, identify with communities of shared interests, and buy only what aligns with their personal brand. They make choices about what they want to buy based on information from sources that transcend, and upend, traditional company marketing efforts.
It’s up to the companies to meet the Me-centric consumers where they are, not the other way around. But this offers up an opportunity to build a lasting relationship with your consumers.
Once businesses understand Metail, they will rethink every single aspect of their strategy through this new lens. Businesses can never again think of consumers or their tastes and needs in terms of static demographic groups. Instead, they need to focus their resources on establishing an intimate and personal understanding of their brand’s unique assortment of consumers and building new relationships with them. You need to ask not only, “Would a customer like this?” but “Would our customer like this?”
The Metail Economy
In this book, Joel Bines, managing director and co-head of the AlixPartners retail practice, illustrates the radical power shift that has occurred between businesses and their customers. Success now requires developing a whole new kind of relationship with your customers, and Bines shows how to accomplish this through implementing one of more of the Metail models he calls the “6 C’s”: Cost; Convenience; Category Expertise; Customization; Curation; and Community.