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ONLINE, THE CUSTOMER LAYS DOWN THE RULES, YOU DON'T.
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27-02-2018

ONLINE, THE CUSTOMER LAYS DOWN THE RULES, YOU DON'T.

I get into the car after a game of tennis. I throw my racket on the back seat and while I am driving home, I ponder on a question I was just asked: ‘Martijn, please tell me, how can my business survive in this online world? Some of my best customers are buying online nowadays. From my competitors!’ A gripping question with which many entrepreneurs – small and large, B2B as well as B2C – are struggling on a daily basis: how can you stay successful in a world in which the internet has become so dominant?

For the sake of convenience, I distinguish between two types of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneur A runs a successful offline business, wants to offer even more service and convenience to his customers, and puts his product range online. Full stop. Fair play. Reality check: this is a species in danger of extinction. Entrepreneur B, on the other hand, sees his sales decrease. Fewer customers walk through the door of his showroom or shop, his sales representatives achieve lower turnovers. He invests in an online marketing agency, a new website, a web shop, outlines a new target group, puts his product range online, sends out a newsletter every now and then and … the sales growth is minimal, not even enough to cover the costs. After hours and hours of training, slaughtered, full of disbelief. How could this happen?

Another market, different target group, new approach

Nine out of ten times the answer is: insufficient knowledge of this new branch of sport. Because that’s exactly what it is. When investing in a new market or target group offline, you conduct solid research beforehand. Logical, of course. However, if we transfer our physical trading to the online market, we conveniently leave out that step. We literally venture out into another playing field: from supply-driven to demand-driven. Online it is not you who lays down the rules, but the customer. That new customer, on that new market. With your old familiar product range. To be sure, it feels like playing squash for the first time while you have been playing tennis all your life. It looks like two of a kind, but this is a match you are going to lose.

Digital Transition: change your strategy

Even when you’re 2-0 down, the game isn’t over yet. Change your strategy. Forget about your product range for a moment and focus on that new customer. His requirements and interests. Insights that only external big data can provide you. Know your new target group, your audience. Know what keeps them awake at night. Know the market. From back to front and from left to right. And let your product range be determined by all these factual insights, not by your emotions. You will find out that your product range doesn’t need to be wide, but deep. Seek out your niche. Choose your place in the market. What can you offer your customer that no one else can? Next, present this relevant supply in the proper context and perception. The right supply, at the right moment, through the right channel, for the right target group.

Contact us if you want to win online

Decide on your product range. Pick your niche. Place your product in the proper context. Three sets in a row. Game – set – match. And whether you play tennis or squash, know that you will always find a solid doubles partner at our office. No matter what your level of play is. It is time to win online.