The age of the customer.
We all know that the marketplace has completely shifted in the past 15 years. We know that our buying behavior has changed with the advent of the smart phone and availability of content on the internet. But understanding what the change looks like, and why, is one of the most important things to grasp as you adapt your business to the “new normal” of the marketplace.
In his book “The Age of the Customer” small business and entrepreneurship expert, Jim Blasingame gives context and understanding to the marketplace we now find ourselves in. Jim describes the transition from the “Age of the Seller” to the “Age of the Customer” which begin in 1993 when access to the internet became commercially available to the public and which has fully accelerated today.
The graph below shows the change that has taken place.
In the first graph, the “Age of the Seller”, the seller controlled the product/service and the information about the product and the customer controlled the purchase decision. The customer was occasionally influenced in their decision by word-of-mouth information about the product or service by someone in physical or relational proximity of the customer.
In the second graph showing the current “Age of the Customer”, the seller still controls the product/service but now, in addition to the purchase decision, the customer also controls the information about the product. And, the customer now has access to a world-wide network of “word-of-mouth” information from User Generated Content (USG) like reviews and forums, that now live online as well.
So, what does this mean for a home builder?
When we understand that the customer expects access to and control of the information about our product, we need to be proactive in giving them everything they need to simplify and streamline the process for them. We need to make buying a new home easy and self-service as much as possible. And this all needs to happen online before they need to make contact with you. We created PRICE BLD-R specifically to give home builders the ability to meet this need.
This new marketplace also means that creating positive experiences and exceeding expectations for home buyers from the beginning of their search through the building process, closing and warranty is now more important than ever.