Internet and Business Online – Dealing With Entitlement Issues

Let’s face it; the web is filled with entitlement issues. For a few dollars a month we gain access to the world via an Internet connection. We want sports scores and we don’t want to wait for the sports networks on television to scroll their list, so we log on and get the score. We missed a portion of a television show we like so we log on and often find the program available to watch on demand.

We gain free access to online encyclopedias and dictionaries.

We play along with game shows and sit at the computer to find the answers before the contestant does.

We want to know more about the weather and a few clicks later we know.

We want the ratings on a car we’re thinking about buying and we find it online.

There is often one underlying prerequisite to our online perusal. We do not want to have to pay to get the information. This information is typically thought to come at no cost when we pay to log onto the Internet.

The entitlement issues have largely been managed by websites competing with other forms of media for your attention. If a site is brokering knowledge they will typically offset the expense by infusing Google AdSense Ads or other PPC or banner ads into the site thus allowing the visitor to have access to the information without the concern of payment.

Even fee-based sites generally have a free tier of service for anyone. A perk-filled membership is generally available at a modest price. If a visitor gains significant value from the free tier they may be inclined to purchase a membership if they feel the extended value is worth it.

Interestingly many sites that are entirely fee-based may struggle more than those with at least a most basic free tier of service.

Whether the mentality is correct or not the Internet has accommodated those who may have a feeling that the world owes them something. Obviously businesses online can’t give product away, but they can and are infusing their sites with information and free downloads that add incredible value at no cost to consumers. This strategy has become a primary component to improving trust between online business and potential consumer.

Websites are filled with free podcasts, video streams, game downloads, teaching materials, recipes, home improvement tips, garden development plans and information on virtually any subject you can think of.

To online businesses it may seem unfair to have to find alternative ways to fund free information and advice, especially when you may be used to being paid for the information you can provide.

In most cases the information provided is designed to work as part of a marketing strategy pointing visitors to products and services you make available. The knowledge-based content provides information that coincides with something you can offer the customer.

Since face-to-face connections are not easily managed online this strategy not only tackles the entitlement issue, but it is useful in developing a trusting relationship with those who do not easily pass on their trust.

Internet and Business Online and the Shift in Giving

In recent years the role of corporate giving has been increasingly green. Carbon credits have been purchased and environmental causes have been adopted.

While I anticipate this form of giving will continue to have strong support. The economic meltdown of 2008 may signify a shift in the distribution of philanthropic cash.

The desperate need of humanity displaced by foreclosure or job loss makes it fashionable and hopefully reasonable for corporations to look at the idea of funding charitable causes that work to help those who are struggling with daily needs.

It could be argued that controlling greenhouses gases may be less important than making sure that those who are currently alive on planet earth are taken care of.

Large groups like Second Harvest of Habitat for Humanity can always use the help for their national campaigns, but there are an incredible amount of either smaller or regional charities that your business may have a personal affinity for.

Kohl’s is an example of a company that provides assistance to both green charities as well as charities featuring a different focus. Their Kohl’s Cares for Kids campaign benefits educational goals that can indirectly impact the economy by providing funds to help children gain a stronger grasp of educational goals and make lifelong learning a powerful tool in future job attainment and perhaps creation. This company also provides grants for local charities and assistance to more than 100 hospitals for the health requirements of children.

While this isn’t an article for Kohl’s it does point to what one company is doing to impact their culture in hard times. In many cases this is done so naturally many customers may not even be aware that their purchases are working to help their community while others intentionally look for specific buying opportunities to help.

Yes, Kohl’s is a large brick and mortar chain, but the role of giving doesn’t need to stop at doors that automatically open when customers drop by. The Internet is a powerful tool that can allow online businesses to do that same thing. Even if you are a small company you can factor in a percentage of your profits to help a charity you believe in.

Think about it this way. If you live in a rural area you can still support a local effort through your online sales. This allows funds that come to your location through sales not generated from your region to benefit your community.

For your charity this can provide a benefit not found in regional fund raising. Why? The burden of the giving is reliant on purchases from a global community. Those individuals are helping your community through every purchase they make from your site.

If your business is larger you can apply the same principles or choose a larger charity to assist. Many consumers appreciate knowing a portion of their purchase is helping others. Dedicate a portion of your website to your charity or charities of choice and explain to potential consumers how their purchase will effect change in the lives of others. For many this will result in a purchase that feels good on more than one level.

Internet and Business Online – You Need Gas to Go

With the rapid increase in the costs of transportation there have been numerous suggestions made for managing the crisis. Green initiatives seek to find a more reasonable method to move the world’s population. Alternative power is being discussed from bio-fuels, electricity and solar energy to hydrogen, natural gas and even compressed air.

Perhaps the biggest story in this shift is the one taking place behind computer monitors around the world.

As more people find reason to forgo traffic jams and gas-consuming outings they are finding the joy of shopping can continue online.

The world is delivered through the portal of the Internet. Information is consumed at an incredibly brisk pace while goods and services are made to feel entirely welcome in cyber space.

Attractive storefronts in the online world allow consumers unhindered window-shopping. If a customer has a question about a product they can either find it on a business website or use their favorite search engine to learn more.

This is the synergy of a combination of potent content and desired products. It is possible to develop a website that works to answer virtually every question consumers may ask.

Consumers are often used to either a pushy sales staff or young employees who really aren’t sure what to say or do. Consumers want experts and they are increasingly turning to the online world to gain clarity. When they get their questions answered they are more likely to consider a purchase from a company they are learning to trust.

Is that happening down the street? Across town? Maybe, but it’s happening more and more in online business.

One of the appeals to shopping online has to be the lack of a forced immediate decision that needs to be made. Yes, you should provide a call to action for your customers, but they can take all the time they need to make a decision they are comfortable with.

America was revolutionized by motor transportation. This will likely remain an ongoing part of our society, but the Internet has revolutionized business. This global marketplace has provided a common sense approach to information gathering as well as buying and selling merchandise.

It is conceivable an alternative fuel source will allow transportation to continue in new and positive directions, but until that next great idea is recognized we are likely to see ongoing and expanded use of the Internet as a sales tool. The truth is even before oil prices jumped so dramatically there was incredible growth in online sales. The increase in gas prices simply provided the motivation for others to consider ecommerce. Once consumers get a taste for online shopping they may be more reluctant to drive across town to wait in a line.

The Internet is making it possible for individuals to move into the world of business ownership with a minimum investment and virtually unlimited potential. The driving force behind the expansion of ecommerce is a growing and motivated consumer base that remains frustrated with traditional forms of shopping.