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Is Your Business Transparent?

September 4, 2009 Leave a comment

For their September issue, Trendwatching revisited a consumer trend that is consistently growing in importance: Transparency. St. Maximas the Confessor believed that Adam and Eve were transparent luminous beings and that in the future transformation this luminosity would be restored. In our ever-growing socially-connected world, businesses are becoming more transparent (luminous or not). I’d say businesses and individuals alike would do well to pay heed to this trend, since I think we may be growing transparent in more ways than one (but that’s another topic).

I suggest you read the whole briefing.  Highlights from the September 2009 Trendwatching Newsletter include:

1. Reviews Revolution – The impact of customer reviews continues to soar. Trendwatching suggests (and rightly so I think), “Reviewing is the new advertising.”

Deluge – More people are online, thus more reviews are online. (And not all the reviews are on your website!) Some key sites to watch include: Bazaarvoice (their new ShoutIT integrates with FB et al); TripAdvisor (top travel review site); Google’s Rich Snippets; and a variety of local review sites like Yelp and GeoGraffiti.

Truthiness – As aggragated reviews increase, fake reviews (by tricky businesses and angry customers) will more likely be exposed, so if you’re doing that kinda of stuff: Knock it off!

Everything Reviewed – It’s not just books anymore. Everything from churches to childcare will be reviewed. I’m thinking about righting a review of my parents (5 stars out of 5 stars of course!)

Real Time – If the diner on the corner has a rat in their soup, people may know within minutes. This means companies will have to be more vigilant than ever and ready to respond (plan of action in advance) to crisis and mistakes. I suggest humility and honesty as the best policy!

Mapmania – With Smartphones bulging from everyone’s pocket, people more easily are pulling reviews via map searches.

Reviewer Trumps Review – Reviewer profiles are growing more important as more people will want to read reviews by people like them. (I must admit that I’ve always used the Amazon profile link to see what other books a person reviews before I blindly accept their words. Who knows? They may say Tomaato while I say Tomaeto!

Right of Reply – Reviewers no longer have the final say. Companies will and do have opportunities to reply on sites like TripAdvisor and Amazon.

Warning Will Robinson – Okay I added the “Will Robinson.” But the big deal for companies with reviews is the thing I harp on again and again when talking to folks about social media. It’s about listening! Social media is not another way to spam your message via Twitter, FB and more. It’s a change to listen. You can turn off the comments on your blog, but you can’t turn off the comments your customers are making in other places. So listen. Engage. Learn the art of responding to complaint with grace.

2. Pricing Pandemonium – I like this, “What else can we say about online price comparison than that full price transparency seems near?” Their right. Who doesn’t do searches for products when getting ready to purchase? More than once I’ve been shopping in a store, and done a quick comparison via my iPhone, then ordered the product I was looking at in the store online (and got it in the mail the next day to boot).

Niche – This is interesting. Trendwatching sees the emergence of niche pricing sites focused on a specific think like medication, skiing, bus tickets, elder care, medical tourism, and more.

On-the-spot – Like I said, I’ve used my iPhone for in-store price comparisons. Some shop apps include Amazon Android, Shopsaavy, and SnapTell.

Alerting – With GPS, there are all sorts of price alerting functions that will soon be commonplace.

Forecasting – How about apps that forecast the best time for purchases. Oh yeah! This is already happening with flights in apps like Farecast.

3. Inside Out – Finally, Trendwatching suggests (and rightly so) that transparency extends beyond pricing and reviews to corporate citizenship. So companies need to be more conscious about “doing the right thing” because everyone will know your deceptions. Who knows what employee might be posting stuff online, exposing your fraudulent and poor behavior. This is a great opportunity as well for companies to think and act more responsibly in the world. But it does have some potential problems in my opinion. What exactly does “Do the Right Thing!” mean? In our politically divided nation (and even more divided world), this has potential of politicizing actions by companies even more. How long before everyone gets sick of all the tattling and attack culture that is continuously bred in the left and right of our culture? In spite of the downfall, I do like the idea of holding people and companies responsible. So it just means we have a heartier conversation. Now let’s hope we learn (at some point) the fine are of civility.

Great map resource for city information

December 4, 2006 Leave a comment

Going to a new city? Lost in your own city? TechCrunch just reviewed the newly revamped Ask City, and they’ve made me a believer!

Ask City is  a cool tool for looking up restaurants, movies, events, dog parades, and more. It combines maps, reviews, and a variety of customization like saving snapshots while I search, integration with other sites and services, notes on maps, and e-mailable permalinks of my searches. Ask City may become my new first stop for finding out about where in the world I live.

I have a comment about your review!

September 22, 2006 1 comment

Amazon has added a comment functions on reviews. Users can comment on reviews, and then police comments. I will be interesting to see how well this takes off.

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