Customers Rule! Why the E-Commerce Honeymoon is over and where Winning Businesses Go From Here

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9780609608654: Customers Rule! Why the E-Commerce Honeymoon is over and where Winning Businesses Go From Here
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Customers Rule! The high-tech honeymoon is over and customers are choosing the winners today — and it doesn't matter to them whether those businesses operate out of a storefront or reach them through a computer screen. Any company that's still debating whether the future belongs to traditional bricks-and-mortar stores or the dot-coms is probably already losing the battle.

Retail executives, consultants, and marketing firms alike have been jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon, proclaiming the end of retail as we know it. The numbers tell a different story. It's become clear that the Internet is not a revolution in retail — it's an evolutionary force and nothing more. No one can deny that the Internet has changed the way we live, communicate, and work, but the Internet is not where the retail war is being waged.

Today's battles are being fought supply chain against supply chain. The weapons are consumer-savvy sales, marketing and fulfillment organizations, multichannel retail, distribution and marketing operations, and yes, the Internet. The mission is complex and demands new skills and strategies, but the goal is a simple one: solving customers' problems better than their competitors and with better-than-current solutions.

Roger Blackwell and Kristina Stephan have spent years watching, analyzing, and advising the players. In Customers Rule! they offer case studies that reveal the inside story of successful operations like Victoria's Secret, L.L. Bean, Nordstrom's, Sherwin-Williams, and a dozen other corporations — companies that have created a blended strategy that combines the best of online and offline commerce. They also reveal the flaws that made companies like Boo.com, eToys, and Pets.com road kill on the information superhighway.

In Customers Rule! you'll learn about the crucial operational requirements for success in today's hyperaccelerated, hypercompetitive retail environment, discover how to reach online customers (and keep them once you do), observe successful online and offline branding strategies, and see how successful companies are creating customer satisfaction 24/7, 365 days a year. There's much more, but Blackwell and Stephan's principal message is that a blended strategy which preserves the best of the old and takes the best of the new is the surest way to success.

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Review:

Customers Rule!, by Roger Blackwell and Kristina Stephan, is a back-to-earth management guide for the 21st century that emphasizes traditional business strategies incorporated with--but never overshadowed by--the Internet. Blackwell, an Ohio State University marketing professor, and Stephan, vice president of a consulting firm that bears her coauthor's name, note that even after the dot-com shakeout, many firms still place too much emphasis on the "e" side of e-commerce, giving short shrift to basics that connect them with consumers and suppliers. Dissecting companies that failed because of this (like Boo.com, the erstwhile sportswear e-tailer), along with those appearing to prosper by recognizing it (including Victoria's Secret and L.L. Bean, which both learned the ropes through conventional catalog operations), the authors emphasize that business fundamentals remain the key to success. Adding value for customers, establishing vendor relationships, controlling costs, and conserving cash are all important elements. They discuss specifics that combine traditional and New Economy ideas in original ways, like using omnipresent bricks-and-mortar establishments such as Kinko's for third-party distribution of online orders. No matter the business, the authors contend, the optimal result is a "blended strategy" that enhances customer and supply-chain relationships, decreases inventory and expenses, increases efficiencies, and reaches new customers.--Howard Rothman

From the Back Cover:

"Roger Blackwell is the preeminent expert on how and why people buy, and his new book arms businesses with much needed cutting-edge strategies to succeed far into the future." Geoffrey A. Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Living on the Fault Line

"Roger Blackwell and Kristina Stephan demonstrate the importance of the customer revolution and how winning businesses can build profitable approaches based on the best of in-store and on-line strategies. Rich with examples, the authors show why many early approaches failed because they ignored the key commerce functions of logistics, product analysis and sourcing, and how to build a marriage that lasts -- blending "e" and "commerce" together to delight the foundation of all strategies, the customer." Patricia B. Seybold, author of Customers.com and The Customer Revolution

"Roger Blackwell is one of the most formidable thought leaders working on the Net today. He's right: the impact of the Net is just beginning." Seth Godin, author of Permission Marketing and Unleashing the Ideavirus

"When I began my career, Blackwell's Strategic Marketing was my business bible. As I deal with the new economy, e-commerce, and 'digital discontinuity,' Customers Rule! will become its successor. Carl Gustin, chief marketing officer, Kodak

"This is a must-read for anyone who wants to be successful in twenty-first-century business."Tami Longaberger, president and CEO, The Longaberger Company

"Dr. Blackwell gets it right once again. Customers Rule! cuts through all the clutter regarding e-commerce with a straightforward plan to win." Christopher M. Connor, chairman and CEO, Sherwin-Williams

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