Although, from a consumer’s point of view, the internet marketplace is much like a super-mall – a place where you can get just about anything if you browse or search long enough – the businesses behind these store fronts have their own stories to tell. While they enjoy satisfying each customer’s needs and making sales, these businesses also share the usual customer issues and have a few challenges unique to online business.
One of the hallmarks of online marketing is the novelty that any customer anywhere can make a purchase at any time of day. But the average customer doesn’t always understand, and may not always be patient or understanding, regarding the safeguards and concessions businesses must make to balance quick-and-easy checkout with fraud-prevention. Some of these issues include: different billing and shipping addresses, wrongly entered data, security code errors, address verification mismatches – and biggest of all, remote card entry with no signature verification.
And, for real accountability, the merchant would ideally require the signature of the card holder upon receipt of merchandise, a difficult standard to achieve. Not only do UPS and FedEx charge extra now for a required signature, but there is also no guarantee that the specified recipient will be the actual signatory. And, in case you haven’t heard, claims made by businesses against some carriers, for damage, loss, or non-delivery, are more difficult than ever to get, not to mention time consuming. Unfortunately, many customers could care less about the logistics – “Where’s my damned order; are you guys a real business or what?!”
All About the Bottom Line
In the end, each business is constantly juggling and weighing all of the different facets of internet sales to strike a profitable balance. Profitable? Indeed, with costs of goods and transportation increasing dramatically, customers are likely to consider purchasing online even more favorably … yet they, too, will have to weigh the increasing prices that internet businesses will have to charge to stay in business as wholesale costs shift and adjust.
But what about this ‘bottom line’ mentality that seems to be the endless mantra of the wealthy and successful businessmen and women? Clearly, a business does have to be realistic about maintaining profitability; yet, the business dynamics behind that can be as different as night and day. To be profitable doesn’t mean that one has to run a business as if the CEO were Attila the Hun himself, though we do seem to have a few who might fit that category these days….
Naturally, there are probably as many opinions about this situation and its merits and de-merits as there are people who would write or talk about it. Nevertheless, one interesting word that sums up the true responsibility of every organizer in society – from businessmen and politicians to the ever-important workforce – and includes multiple factors at once, is sustainability.
Sustainable (business) practices involve a whole different set of logistics aimed at maintaining sustainability on every level of individual, social and ecological life, while yet running a profitable business. And, if you think it is a big challenge to become a multi-millionaire or billionaire CEO, or to carry some other prominent title, try running a truly sustainable operation. Of course, you aren’t likely to get the same 6 or 7-figure income or stock options, but are we humans still so shallow and naïve that we still think that as long as we have as much money as possible, the rest of the world can sink or swim as it will?
What pathetic and immature thinking that would be; yet, it would seem that some of these people would be just as happy to move to another continent if the US economy were to fail, as would a parasite whose host no longer satisfies its hunger. Indeed, people need to stop pretending to be the authoritative experts about money, business and everything else, and start thinking about the earth we live on, the ecosystem we live within, and the well-being of future generations of mankind and all life on the planet.
And the irony of the situation, which has also faced the greatest of past civilizations, is that all of this is based upon one essential thing: individual choice; what each individual, and particularly the most influential individuals, chooses for himself and others. Perhaps underrated here is the contribution of: family values, educational perspectives, social programming, religious training, personal experience, and ambition, upon a person’s vision of possibilities and means of realizing whatever goals he or she sets out to accomplish.
So, we can individually and collectively claim that the world is ‘going to hell in a hand basket’ and behave that way; or we can choose to open our mental horizons, suspend the intellect trained to doubt anything not ‘approved’ by our personal and social authorities, and instead work together to create a brighter and more hopeful and healthy future for mankind. And, since the future will be lived by our own descendants, indeed we should not be in a hurry to abdicate such critical choices and then whine about it all.
Source by Brian Haring