The Invisible Internet

The Invisible Internet

Don’t panic; the internet is only a passing phase, it will soon disappear, and life will return to normal!

Such is the hope of some retailers and other businesses who are standing on the shore in the middle of a storm that is destroying their pre-existing world and hoping it will just go away.

Good news, in many ways the internet is disappearing, but not in the way that these Luddites hope.

20 years ago if you were in a café or waiting in a bus queue many people would be sitting reading a newspaper or magazine, in essence, they were gathering information. Look now in a café and the same is happening, it is only the delivery media and speed of access that has changed.

The ‘Internet’ has for many people disappeared as they no longer see it as new or strange, it is a part of their life, woven into the fabric of how they live, shop, socialise and exist.

How does this ‘invisible internet’ affect business?

Unless you are solely relying on offering the lowest price for items or services, you need to have an omnichannel approach to your business. I am not just talking about those selling using e-commerce, every business needs to extend their thoughts of daily business to their online presence.

Your efforts must be to build a company in the virtual and real world; there should be no difference. You cannot say one thing in the real world and contradict yourself in the virtual one. There was a time when the ‘experts’ thought that a website could replace a real-world company. It turns out that many people are rebelling against the machine and still want to deal with people.

It’s a real world, really it is! We live, breath and exist in a three-dimensional world. We are not yet simple avatars in a virtual existence. We eat, we need services, and we buy stuff to use in 3 dimensions. You need to make sure that your business offers an experience about which people rave positively and not rant endlessly. It used to be said that a happy customer told four people and an unhappy one told 9, today we have Facebook in our pocket.

Anyone can sell something once, as they say even a blind pig can find a truffle every so often. But to turn customers into users and users into advocates requires a customer experience that sticks. Just in case you weren’t sure, bombarding your customers with emails every three days saying how great you are and how many special offers you have is not customer experience, it is a customer killer.

You know what a great customer experience feels like; you get them every so often from other people. When you have one, work out how you can apply part of it to improve you do in your business and customers. Not everything is completely transferable, but you can look at things with ‘customer eyes’ and see what you do well and what could do with improvement.

There is no longer a real and virtual divide. The internet is part of normal life, and people swap from it to the real world without seeing the join. Ask any NLP practitioner, and they will tell you the brain cannot distinguish between a real and virtual experience, they are the same.

From simple things like colour schemes and fonts used in posters and websites through to the business ethos driving your company, you need uniformity and a single concept. Do it; you stand a chance of succeeding; do nothing and watch your company glide gently into bankruptcy like a moth into a bonfire. Hmm, is that too frank an ending? Probably. But this is business, and you live and die by your last customer experience, real or virtual.