Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Is the internet really to blame for loosing a 60 year old competitive advantage?

Last week I had the pleasure of doing a Sales Cats keynote at the Albury Northside Chamber of Commerce. A wonderful group of business owners joined me and we spent a morning tossing around ideas of how to sell in tough times. There was however a sad start to the day.

The night before on local Prime News, I noticed the story of Matthews Cycles in Albury closing after sixty years of trading due to the 'internet'. I was sad because this was not due to the internet.

This business had tradition, clients, reputation for incredible service and most importantly it had a sixty year old brand. Unfortunately this 'brand' was painted on the outside of the business sixty years ago but had not been repainted/repurposed for the modern consumer. As this bulletin was read I jumped online and typed Matthews Cycles into my search engine. And guess what?! Nothing! No website. Plenty of secondary links that lead me to browse and buy elsewhere.

While there is no doubt that service, and exceptional service at that, is critical to sales success today, the melding of web, social and online technology to your brand is critical. This wonderful icon of cycling in Albury should never have been lost. It should have been leveraged with innovation, tribe thinking, sixty years of selling data and branding that uses the internet as a new source of business not as a barrier.

Look at this current study to understand the importance of blending a modern brand and the internet to build success. 

Should Matthews Cycles have had a Facebook page?

This demonstrates that businesses can of course blame the internet for their downfall but at some stage they will have to take responsibility for shifting to new and innovative ways of selling to customers.

The buggy whip maker made that shift when he discovered that driving gloves may be required for that dirty, smoking, noisy machine called the automobile as it rolled into to town.


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