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What do Your Customers really, really want?

Three major trends that every small business needs to know!

By Anne-Marie Watson
Published May 7, 2010

After a tough year in 2009, this year is promises to be much brighter economically. To be sure you make the most of these opportunities, it will pay to understand your customer needs more than ever.

Here are some current and future trends that are being reported by large market research companies and industry experts including well respected consumer watchers Trendwatching.com.

1. Customers will continue their love affair with information 

Although practically one would think there must be some human limit to the amount of information we continue to thirst for; that doesn't seem to be the case. At least not yet! The myriad of activities we now conduct on a regular basis such as Googling everything from from price comparisons, seat availability, holiday accommodation, weather forecasts, extra information on any subject desired through Wikipedia and reviews of restaurants, movies, books or other products; will only grow.

Research forecasters from Trendwatching are outlining a further development of our obsessive needs for checking, tracking and alerting services. Who'd have thought that the updates we get now for Facebook, LinkedIn and Amazon.com wouldn't be enough and we'd want more!

Businesses who understand this need for constant information  and can also provide the right information, in the right format, make it credible, easy and quickly accessible, will gain customer trust and support, faster than those who don't.

2. Time is of the essence 

Customer expectations of how long they should wait for products or services are getting shorter and shorter. Factors such as the instancy of getting information online, technology improvements and the world of overabundance that we live in (where no-one waits to save up to get anything-they buy it instantly on credit) are just a few of the influences that are helping to drive this further. Influenced also by time-poor and stress driven lifestyles, consumer impatience levels are getting higher as time goes on.

Consumer demand  to get things done faster as led to the appearances of fast-track services such as Self-Serve aisles at Woolworths, express lines at the movies, drive through dry-cleaning and banking; and online shopping.

Businesses can take advantage of this trend by firstly understanding this need for instancy and build streamlined processes throughout their touchpoints with customers.

3. Online Access is as vital as access to air

Online has become such a large part of our life that soon the terminology that even describes this will change to assume everyday use as we have with other technological advances.

The numbers we are hearing about online use and all its permutations are simply astounding and reinforce how the online world has not only become so omnipotent but will continue to expand exponentially.

We don't have enough space in this article to consider all the opportunities made available online suffice to say that social media will be come so big as well that it will cease to be labelled as such. It is destined to become the main means of communicating, searching, linking relationships and many other things.

The main thing to consider after reviewing these trends is to look at your business plan for the future and evaluate if you have everything in place to at a minimum: avoid losing customers or sales through lack of preparedness, or more ideally, that your business is ready and willing to take advantage of these trends.

There are lots of opportunities out there for those who have the foresight, courage and ingenuity to take their ideas forward.

Copyright 2010 © Southside Marketing Solutions

 

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