A Whole New Universe of Buying: Universal Commerce – Part I of III

Huey P. Newton, the late co-founder of  The Black Panther Party, said “The Power of The People is Greater Than The Man’s Technology.”

Huey may have been wrong on social revolution, but he sure predicted the real power behind Universal Commerce.

“The People” have decided how to bend the power of technology to fit their needs.

This is the first article of a three-part series that will explore the growing world of Universal Commerce.  In Part I, we’ll explore what Universal Commerce is and why it’s found a role in our society.  In Part II, we’ll talk about the virtual wallet and services like Google Wallet and the impact they are having on Universal Commerce.  Then in Part III we’ll look at what small businesses will have to do to join the new universe of Universal Commerce and not fall behind this powerful trend.

Todd Ebert, Senior VP at ReachLocal, wrote in an article, “Rethinking the Consumer Buying Process: How the Web Has Changed Everything”: 84% of consumers who walk into a store have already decided what they’re going to buy.

In a 24/7 information world, consumers are better informed than in anytime in world history. Where does the consumer get his information? Not by the traditional information sources of the past. Social media such as Twitter, Yelp, blogs and Facebook provide information to consumers which shapes their buying decisions.

Position2’s blog post “What Influences Buying Decisions in #Social Media” found:

  • 58% of online consumers follow retailers via the retailer’s website or blog, Facebook or Twitter.
  • Nearly 50% of online consumers tracked information on specific products for these sites.

Jennifer Beese came up with an even higher number in her article “Social Networks Influence 74% of Consumer Buying Decisions.”

Today’s consumer is smarter because he or she doesn’t waste valuable time, shoe leather or gas going from store to store searching for the perfect deal.  Today’s savvy consumers are online comparing prices before going to the store to spend his or her hard-earned money.

Product review websites give the prices of a product at each retail outlet. We all know about Groupon and LivingSocial, but the number of daily deal and group opportunity websites is growing. There are over 700 today, but how many more will there be tomorrow?

“The People” have already taken these 21st century technology resources and changed their buy habits. Smart 21st century businessmen have seen what “The People” are doing and joined “The Revolution.”

Smart 21st century businessmen have created even newer technology to make our shopping experiences less stressful.

“The People” see the technology as a single medium designed for a single goal: “GETTING THE BEST DEAL I CAN GET!”

If I’m walking through a particular neighborhood, looking for a sale, my smartphone app gives me more current information than the morning newspaper. This “Consumer Revolution” is truly a “People’s Revolution” because American businesses weren’t trying to destroy business models that have served them well for centuries.

Many American businesses still have a 20th century mindset that divides how they think about attracting a consumer to buy. There is an in-store campaign, an online campaign, a radio campaign, a print campaign and TV campaign with no synergy between them. “The People” view it as one shopping experience as do smart 21st century retailers.

It is understandable why “The People” would want Universal Commerce. It’s a simpler, more efficient world if I can shop from a billboard or magazine ad then pay with a click from my virtual wallet! And it makes sense, because all our 21st century clothes have no room for a 20th century leather wallet, but plenty of room for a 21st century virtual wallet!

For more information on Universal Commerce, download a free copy of First Data’s excellent report “Universal Commerce:  A Seamless, Personalized Purchase Experience For Today’s Connected Consumer.”

Check out Part II of this series, which will appear tomorrow at 4pm on this same site!

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Jordan Brown is a veteran Writer/Journalist/Actor based in Harlem NYC. The DC native has also called Los Angeles, Chicago, Memphis, Pittsburgh, PA, Oslo & Bergen Norway "Home." Mr. Brown spent many years as Senior Producer at ABC, worked as War Wire Editor at Fox News Channel & Business Radio Producer at Black Enterprise. Since 2005, he has been Publisher-Editor of "The FREE Jordan Brown JOBS Report" http://www.thejbreport.blogspot.com. His personal mission is to help fellow creative media people find employment in these trouble times!

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