In Wired Magazine, a recent article entitled “Crocodiles Can Climb Trees,” caught our attention for obvious reasons. Evidently, the proclivity for scampering up trees is quite common in today’s crocodiles. As a team of scientists suggests in Herpetology Notes, (yes, there’s a publication called Herpetology Notes) the behavior exists as a means for regulating body temperature and/or surveying the environment.
Wonderful! If just looking out for a man-eating reptile in the water wasn’t terrifying enough, it turns out now you have to worry about ambush from all kinds of unexpected places too.
What does this have to do with eCommerce? If you think of it metaphorically, consider how your hunting grounds are changing. As a manufacturer or a wholesaler, you might think that you and your customers are safe right where you are comfortable, on top of your tree. But you are clearly not paying attention. Many more entrants are invading the ecosystem and climbing your trees, and if you are not adapting to new selling methods and channels for engagement, you are going to become crocodile lunch.
According to Forrester, the market is becoming topsy-turvy with diffuse buying channels. “Manufacturers have entered the distribution space, and distributors have entered the manufacturing space. In addition, B2B is seeing the emergence of a new class of “pure play” distributor intent on stealing share away from broad line providers by focusing on B2B buyer niches.”
Customers are getting restless too. More so than ever, customers want the option to self-serve at a time and place of their convenience. As a result, manufacturers are experiencing tremendous pressure to open up more buying channels. Keep in mind that today’s customers, regardless of whether they are purchasing for business or themselves, have high expectations for convenience and seamless user experience. They have been weaned on Amazon-like experiences, and expect the same wherever they buy. If you don’t give them what they want, somebody else will.
So, poke your head out of your tree house, look around and watch out for the crocodiles. Like it or not, they are climbing your tree right now. You can stay where you are, or do something about it.