Customer is King – an old saying that has never been more true than now! While the one-on-one customer service of the old days might be something of the past, customers of today have more power than ever before.
To a large extend, the internet can be thanked for this increased power.
- Customers are (or can be) very well informed about products and services – just google it!
- They have access to more options and they are not limited by where they live – online shopping!
- Word of mouth has become word of keyboard. Much more powerful and trustworthy than ads, easily-accessible online forums, opinions and ratings can guide your purchasing decisions.
Of course all of the above applies to the wine industry.
You might not become a wine expert per se, but online access to wine theory is easy. You can learn how to mature, what temperature to serve at and which stemware to use. You can also easily be guided towards food and wine pairings. And then of course, your purchase options are almost unlimited. In one way or another you will be able to find your choice of wine or a similar style online, whether it is in your local grocer or have to be shipped from France. Want to get a few opinions on the wine? Go to Vivino.com
But in a world of rights, the customer’s power extends to more than purchasing decisions. Almost all countries have their own version of an advertising complaints commission to ensure responsible advertising content and a competition commission to protect the customer against unfair price fixes and restrictive business practices.
Customers today also have exceptional power when it comes to matters such as sustainability, animal-rights, health… Organised activism addresses concerns of ordinary people in the form of NGO’s – independent non-government and non-profit organisations ran by volunteers.
These NGO’s serves as the watch dogs of society and keep retailers and big brands on their toes. At the same time however, smart NGO’s know that to really make a difference, they have to work with brands.
“Getting big toiletry and personal care brands to change how they buy palm oil, or persuading food firms to demand higher animal welfare standards from their livestock suppliers, creates deep, sector-wide change faster (and more cheaply) than trying to change the purchasing decisions of millions of consumers or lobbying often remote governments for legal or regulatory change.” (read more)
Of course, it is more complicated than this. There are many criteria to compile with and brands have to prioritise. At the same time, using your compatibility to enhance your profile will put you under the spotlight and hold you to a high standard.
It seems that the customer being king, is actually a good thing for the world we live in. People are much more conscious about resources and responsible about consuming. And with these high expectations of suppliers and retailers, it will become increasingly difficult to get away with irresponsible practices.