In the age of internet, personal computers and wide availability of internet service providers, consumers have seen a drastic change in their relationships with suppliers. The use of World Wide Web which enables the direct connection of consumer to suppliers has certainly created a more effective method of eliminating the middle man as well as enabling the consumer to have a greater access to the ever growing list of service and goods providers. Essentially, the World Wide Web has been more of an enabling tool in shoppers’ capabilities.
It has enabled consumers to access a wide selection of suppliers, their reputation, prices as well as create an environment which comparison shopping has become substantially easier. Nevertheless the fundamentals have not changed. One of the rather simple examples of the influence of internet on consumer and supplier relationship is a 3 year old study which shows that car shopping in particular has been negatively affected for particular segment of the society.
The consumer and supplier relationship is still a symbiotic in which both parties rely on each other’s ability to satisfy their respective needs. Consumers need suppliers to satisfy their wants in terms of necessary products and services; suppliers need consumers to produce profits. The role of the World Wide Web, though not saddle, has not changed those fundamentals. The internet has been one of the most powerful drivers in this changing consumer landscape.
Customers are better educated than ever before, and have endless sources of buying information at their fingertips. For example, price comparison websites have led to a drive for price-conscious purchasing and an erosion of brand loyalty. Consumers also have less need to interact directly with sales people, with the ability to buy quickly and simply online without needing to engage or speak to anyone directly.