This holiday season we saw the continued relentless march of the internet eating into brick and mortar sales. According to comScore, US consumers spent $30.9 billion online this holiday season a 15% uplift on last year.
One of the key developments for me is watching the multi-channel firms trying to play catch up with the momentum being built from firms like Amazon and Zappos. These online giants really demonstrate the benefits of their investment in and focus on an e-centric business model and their ability to manage a well-oiled ecosystem around this to deliver exceptional customer experience.
Their multi-channel competitors try very hard to keep up, but have been dogged by bad press about IT glitches and a failure to deliver. Most notable is the well publicized Best Buy story, where it appears that they were so overwhelmed that they had to write to people who had placed orders and break the news that they could not fulfil their promise to deliver items ordered before Christmas. An added challenge in today’s world is that this bad word of mouth spreads like wildfire through social media, with many Best Buy customers saying they will never shop there again.
At Hiscox we are well placed as the small business insurance landscape follows this trend.
Firstly, we are an established insurance brand that has a track record in the direct online space. We’ve been there, done it, got the T-Shirt. We were the first US insurer to allow small businesses to quote and buy professional liability insurance, general liability insurance and business owners insurance online, direct and in real-time. What’s more, we understand that the quality of the service center back-up is equally important and we invest as much time in that as we do the website. We continue to get exceptional customer reviews – as evidenced by the 2,000+ customer reviews that we make available on our homepage.
Secondly, we operate in an industry sector – insurance – where, to be frank, the bar is pretty low in the small business insurance space and a customer centric organisation like us, with a world-class web capability can make a real difference to the customer experience. What’s more, our product is an intangible promise to make good when things go awry rather than having to face the challenge of delivering a physical product.
We’re looking forward to driving further change in the small business insurance landscape in 2012 – helping small businesses get the right insurance even faster.