Yesterday someone was telling me how happy they were with the DVD rental service of NetFlix. Hearing this person talk about NetFlix (they really should be a NetFlix spokesperson) made me realize how the Internet, yet again, changes the dynamics of business.
BlockBuster has been serving communities the latest videos for years with late fees (recently “no late fees”) included. However what NetFlix offers that BlockBuster’s retail stores could NEVER offer was two things 1) convenience (can you walk to your post box) and 2) an almost unlimited amount of DVDs for rent.
Because of NetFlix’s competition, BlockBuster (and others now or soon) offer NetFlix like service, but NetFlix is the market leader.
BlockBuster could only fit a few hundred – thousand videos in any one store. NetFlix has so many categories it’ll take you hours just to click through their video selection.
With BlockBuster I’ve got to go to their store, look through their boring and limited selection, stand in line, return the videos and worry about late fees, until recently when late fees were stopped with limitations.
With NetFlix, I can set up a list of all the videos I want to see. They are delivered TO ME via mail. When finished I put it back in a pre-paid envelope and wait for more videos to come to my doorstep automatically.
What about your business? Is there a way that your competitor (one you know now or will hear about later on) can NetFlix your business. Are you offering something that a competitor is going to offer in a new way, more of and/or cheaper.
Or even better, how can YOU NetFlix your own business and innovate so that you can offer more products, with more convenience at lower price (as the market dictates) to your customers?
Dell is doing the same thing with printer cartridges. It sells prints for cheap. That’s easy and should be expected. But the challenge many were wondering is how would Dell customers purchase their ink cartridges – they couldn’t walk to their local office supply store and do it.
Dell’s solution? A little program tells the customer when the ink is empty and they can order the ink they need online and have it arrive in a few days (or less) via low cost courier. Dell is giving HP and other vendors a run for their money.
Here’s how to NetFlix your own business:
1. Analyze your entire product line and make sure you know what is profitable and what is not. Make sure that you are selling it, distributing it and marketing it in the best ways possible.
2. Sniff through your business processes and ensure you are being as efficient as possible.
3. Customers. Do you really know them. Do all your staff know who they are when they call. A low cost CRM system can help do wonders here. This step is important. Customer relations – it is so critical yet many businesses do so little.
4. Communication. If you are not leveraging blogs, podcasts, web sites, and email newsletters then you are really wasting money and not communicating with customers the way you could be.
5. I’m sure there’s so much more, but I think you get the point.