Remember the paperless office – it never happened, what about all shops would be put out of business, not to mention the newspapers, and now seeing the ‘we will run our lives on our phones’ join the others as an over stated prediction.
For considerable periods these were widely held beliefs but none of them gained traction on a scale that made them true. It is true however that technology caused disruption to almost all industries but the scale was far less than feared.
So that is the good news – most business’s survived and adapted.
Today we are at a point where all sales channels exist and are open for business to take advantage of. Customers will deal with your business face to face, on the phone, via the internet, by email and they expect a seamless quality of service and product availability through every channel.
Instead to technology destroying your business it has simply become another channel. Customers just want to transacted with you on their terms and see online orders as “no big deal – it is simply expected”.
So what’s the bad news? The bad news is that most businesses do not have the infra-structure to sell down every channel simultaneously. Worse still if you do not have this ability you are just going to upset and loose customers.
An example, you have widgets of special offer – 50% off – a great deal. You have 5 widgets in your warehouse and at the same time a customer orders 5 widgets online while a different customer orders 5 widgets at your store in another city – so which one gets the widgets at this great price. One of those customers is going to be unhappy with you, and add to this you will have the overhead of organizing a refund for one of them.
The bad news is that most business’s cannot cope a with multi-channel multi-branch business model. Just selling instore or just online is easy, however simultaneously selling down every channel from multiple branches requires a lot more thinking about.