Last week we asked you a question. Do we really need winners and losers in this business game? Today, we’re exploring further.
Let’s look at typical software solutions for businesses and consumers. Most businesses, regardless of size, use packaged business software to support their operations. These softwares run the gamut from Finance and Purchasing all the way to Sales and Payroll. They range from Oracle and SAP, to cloud-based solutions like Workday and Salesforce.com. They even include open source alternatives like Open ERP. Each of of these solutions have one thing in common: they treat customers as “master data.” In essence, they assign attributes like name, address and credit history in order to make a “customer model” based on these points and assumptions. They integrate this model into process chains like “order to cash.” In essence, these softwares convert the customer into an object, managed and exploited for monetary gain. They don’t facilitate real-time interaction and they do not foster a win/win relationship.
If we examine models built for for consumers, such as Groupon and Amazon, the landscape is both different and similar. These companies afford the customer bargaining power by bundling demand. They offer access to a competitive market place and the best deals. The businesses are positioned in a favorable light, giving opportunities to their customers. A platform which guarantees the lowest price for customers seems reasonable. Everyone wants the lowest price, right? If we think more critically, though, we understand that is not always the case. Yes, it takes time and effort to find well-priced offerings. But these offerings are often not tailored to individual needs of the consumer or the business. Indeed there have been a number of studies posted which explain how these models are not helpful for local businesses. What these platforms do is fulfill the needs of Groupon or Amazon’s business model. That’s the goal.
In each of these scenarios we witness a third party standing in between the customer and the business. Win-win relationships aren’t easy to forge without an actual relationship between the business and the customer. I say, get out of the way. Breaking down the barriers between local businesses and their local customers is how we make win-wins. And that is Spokeable’s foundation.
So! Do you want to talk with your favorite boutique owner?
Yeah, i thought so.