by: Rami Gur, Business Development Manager, Matrix Internet
Many organizations have recognized the multichannel approach to sales. According to this approach, an organization needs to consider what services it wants to offer its customers at the various junctions and how. Most organizations incorrectly view the Internet as an additional channel for engagement. Much as the telephone went from being a channel to an infrastructure, because it can be used to have a conversation and to send a fax, the Internet must also be viewed as an infrastructure and not as a lone channel.
Website or business?
The Internet has come a long way over the past twenty years. From slow connectivity and a small amount of information, it has grown into a complete, quick-paced universe filled with an enormous amount of quality content. While the Internet was initially used to search for information or e-mail, today the Internet also serves as an infrastructure for shopping, vacation planning, managing bank accounts, communication with friends and watching movies. Websites have gone from being image sites designed to market the organization to websites that are businesses in their own right and need to be marketed.
Both sides of the divide
The cellular phone was the first to change this perception. It was actually the limitations of the devices when they were just coming out that forced organizations to understand that the regular websites must respond to additional needs and provide more extensive services. The change continued as social networks boomed. Here, too, the organization was given a new point of encounter with customers, and again the clear and well-known conditions changed. The interaction no longer goes in a single direction, from the website to the visitor, but is bidirectional, sometimes even initiated by the customer, and it is clear to the organization that it is an area where communication and means of influence are different.
And if these changes in the channels of Internet-based communication were not enough for organizations to understand that the Internet is not a channel, but a technology platform, Apple launched its iPad, marking the debut of a new device into the arena. The iPad is similar to the iPhone, but larger. When we want to communicate with the customer over this device, the size limitations of the iPhone have basically been rendered irrelevant.
The current trends predict that the Internet of the future will be personal. So, for example, a search on Google will no longer bring up the same results, but targeted results. Google and others "learn" about us even today. They know what sites we visited and where we stayed the longest, which search results we clicked and what we write on networks. Even trade systems will receive the information and suggest that site owners promote products that are targeted personally at visitors. We may not even have to define what we are looking for on dating sites, the engine will already know.
The other thing that will happen is that we will stop talking about the Internet. Ten years from now, the Internet will become irrelevant as a term, and we will only be interested in the services. Just like we do not talk about electricity today, but about electrical appliances (plasma displays and hybrid cars), we will also stop talking about the "Internet" and start discussing the products and services provided over it.
In the coming years, we can expect to see the appearance of many devices designed exclusively to allow us to receive services over the Internet. Organizations that fail to recognize that every such device is a new channel that uses the Internet infrastructure will miss out on a golden opportunity.