Written By: Bella Williams
“The customer is the king!” exclaim the modern-day brands, as they try to pander to our needs. However, is this a consumer’s market? Do we as consumers have any control over the things we buy? On the surface, yes, it is our choices that rule the market. We demand they supply. That’s how things work. Well, things are not as simple. Let’s scratch the surface and understand what’s going on here.
Trade and commerce have always been part and parcel of the civilised world. We have come a long way from the days of the barter system, though. With the invention of currency, the market became an equal playing field. The marketplace is a meeting ground for consumers and sellers. Sellers being the providers, the consumers being the receivers. The equation between these two parties is what fashions the market dynamics. Everything from pricing to supply depends on how much the customer demands. Read on to know more about the role of the consumer.
Digitisation of marketplaces
There was a time when only a few big shot companies ruled the market. It was tough for any startup brand to infiltrate this competition. Over time, we see the market opening up to new opportunities. It is easier for a brand to establish its presence. This is possible only because of digitisation and the rise of the internet. People today look out for specialised services. You can no longer be the jack of all trades. Companies start with one sector and slowly venture into other industries, conquering the competition there.
Also, it is easier for brands to mark their place on the virtual platform. All you need is a kickass idea and a reliable internet network. The influx of websites and stores online has also diluted the monopoly of the big players. The customers now have the choice of switching over to cheaper, better alternatives. Customers demand both quantity and quality- a rare feat that not every enterprise can achieve. It is challenging for companies to stay afloat and meet up with the changing trends of the market .
How consumers contribute?
Brands today have to put in a lot of planning and effort to understand the psyche of the consumer. Marketing is no longer just about creating catchy jingles and infographics. Marketers have to come up with unique and innovative ways to be visible to the consumer. What we face today is the problem of plenty. There is too much of everything. This deluge of content can get very overwhelming for the average web browser. Consumers, therefore, have to use their freedom of choice prudently.
Companies often see customer behaviour as a collective phenomenon. Market research plays by the rule of average. If most people prefer a certain thing, it works for your brand. This can dehumanise the customer base, make them but stats on a graph. Fortunately, the new brands popping up these days follow a more personalised approach. Earning the buyer’s trust takes time, and making them loyal to your services takes real work. Social media marketing has triggered the process significantly. But the brand has to have something of substance to offer.
Factors affecting customer demand
Consumers contribute to the market in a pretty straightforward way. They buy the stuff that the sellers and manufacturers offer. However, things are a little murkier than that. The consumer is not a homogenous, collective entity. The customer base comprises of individuals, real-life people with their thoughts and emotions. Your market demographics has a mind of its own. They come from specific social, political, economic backgrounds. They have particular cultural and creative values. Commercial holdings have to consider all these factors before deciding the marketing strategy for your brand. Getting your hands on the demand metrics is, therefore, crucial for the success of any organisation.
Market research and SWAT analysis is a necessary part of any company. Entrepreneurs need to be aware of the market base they’re pandering to. Who is your target audience? What age group, income range and cultural context they belong to? What are they currently offered? How can you, as a new brand, contribute to the existing situation? These are some things you need to sort out before entering the competition.
So, what’s the verdict?
In this tug of war between the consumer and the seller, the power balances shifts continually. In the current scenario, the customer has acquired more control over the market. The internet has further empowered the buyers, giving them a gamut of choices to pick from. Brands have to pull up their socks if they want to stay in the competition. However, on the downside, technology has also made consumers more vulnerable to foul play.
News of scams, cybercrime cases, data hacking and other updates have been on the rise. Most brands indulge in unethical practices, false advertising, deceptive billings etc. to exploit customers. As customers, you rarely get a credible or transparent channel with the brand. It all dumbs down to your discretion. Become more aware of the latest trends in the market. Keep yourself updated about customer rights. Don’t fall prey to the bogus companies. Always look for verified sources; credibility is a valued virtue , especially when you are shopping online. Read through the customer reviews, ratings to make an informed decision.
The bottom line
As consumers, you get to pick and choose from the platter offered to you. And it is your choices and decision that encourage brands to come up with similar or different marketing tactics. Buyers and sellers are hence interdependent; one cannot exist without the other.
As a technology enthusiast, Bella contributes to open-source projects. She is also a Consultant for topmygrades and part time academic tutor at expertassignmenthelp and loves to write about students. When she not helping a student. She will be having a chocolate in different cities or taking a stroll down the beach. You can also find her on LinkedIn .