Expert Voice: Charles Grantham on the Real-Time Consumer
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America's great middle class, called the Silent Majority in years past, is becoming increasingly noisy and demanding online and off, but in ways nobody expected at the start of the Internet boom. No matter that the dot-com craze has cooled dramatically, the genie's out of the box: Behavior and attitudes are changed forever, asserts Charles Grantham, an author of several books about the impact of the Internet on society and work.
Grantham says the fledgling real-time economy is producing a fundamental shift in the psychology of all customerswhether they're buying cars or engine moldings for assemblyand it's continuing to force big changes in the way companies must make, market, deliver and process goods.
Are companies ready? Grantham says they're notbut they ought to be. "Communication technology is continuing to shift the fundamental psychology of most consumers in their attitudes and behaviorthroughout the marketplace," he says. "They can get their books in a day on their doorstep, so why not their groceries? Their dry cleaning? Their garden furniture? They're becoming more demanding in just about every sector."
Grantham says the implications for companies and business strategy are enormous, chiefly because now, businesses must think about offering that he calls "information-added value" to all transactions.