Technology has opened up a world of information and competition, causing a power shift away from suppliers and toward customers.
Your customers are being changed by technology - their expectations are higher and it's easier for them to shop around.
Many changes have occurred because of consumer technology; such as mobility, cloud and social media.
The personalised experiences we get from companies like Amazon and Spotify are "normal" now; we expect this level of service to be available to us, anywhere and on any device.
Business customers are consumers too - and people are coming to expect the same level of service at work.
Because of technology, your customers are:
1. Less reliant on you for information because so much is available online
Today, customers are on average 57% of the way through a purchase before even engaging with a supplier.
2. Spoilt for choice because they have instant access to more suppliers, products and pricing options online.
The internet makes it easy for new global, niche and disruptive competitors to lure your customers away.
3. Flooded with information and options, making it take longer to research and select products.
Customers are gravitating toward solutions that are described in their language about their needs - rather than product features and benefits.
4. Already purchasing online. Neilson research has shown that 1.9 million New Zealanders now shop online (that's 56% of the population) and the average annual transactions per customer has increased to 11 - up 58% in 2 years.
And 71% of in-store shoppers who use smartphones for online research say their device has become more important to their in-store experience.
6. Increasingly mobile in business with 90% of executives using smartphones to research for business purposes, 14% making a direct purchase because of it - and 34% who didn't purchase because of a non-mobile friendly interface.
7. Demanding more variety of interaction than ever before - from digital natives who want an online and mobile experience, to baby boomers who don't trust technology and want to deal face-to-face.
Each customer expects to be able to receive their own desired balance of physical and digital.