Doc Searls (doc-searls) Mon 3 Sep 12 09:29
Even with the big retailer conveniences of aggregation and intermediation, each is itself still a silo. And that remains a problem, because there are limits to what can be done by, and for, customers within a silo. We are now at a point, in the history of retailing, when the limits of vendor-side aggregation and intermediation have been reached, and when in fact they have been over-reached by some of those same companies, especially through the use of entrapping inconveniences such as loyalty cards, coupons, rewards and discounting. The frictions involved with those are gigantic. If you shop at Trader Joe's, you can witness the benefits to both a seller and a buyer of no entrapping gimmicks at all: good products, low prices, and absent marketing frictions. And customers love them for it. It's time to build out ways for each of us as individuals to have our own forms of aggregation and reach in standard, common ways across multiple retailers and services. That's the main thing VRM is for. (And it goes beyond UI.) To some degree we already have this with cash and credit. Cash is ours, when we have it, and it works with all vendors. A bank is essentially a fourth party one working for us rather than for the seller. (Ignoring for now all the ways banks have misbehaved since radical deregulation of securities manipulation by them.) To some degree so are Visa, Amex and MasterCard, even though they make more money on the sell side than the buy side (slicing off a small chunk of every transaction). But we could use more, and better, means. By definition VRM is something the individual has and does. It's not something "provided" to them by a seller. Obviously there are many good things sellers can do. But they can't do it all. And, now that we're reaching the limits of vendor-side build-out of buyer conveniences, VRM can more clearly be seen as a greenfield.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 3 Sep 12 12:17
Big thanks to Doc for this enlightening discussion about vendor relationship management and _The Intention Economy_. Also thanks to everyone else who contributed. Reminder that you can find more information here: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/projectvrm/Main_Page - also here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intention_economy.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 3 Sep 12 13:34
Thanks Doc, this has been enlightening. Kudos for all the various groups and sites you've put together. All the best with the coming book as well.
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