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TK's MORNING BUZZ: The Internet Makes It Easier Than Ever for Retailers to Keep in Touch With Their Customers

14 Nov, 2000 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I spent a little time yesterday on the Home Theater Forum, a Web chat room for DVD buffs with more than 14,000 members and a wealth of information on all things DVD--from information and reviews of upcoming software releases and the latest scoop on hardware to more esoteric topics like popular misconceptions people have/dumb things people say about DVD (my favorite was the complaint about a local Blockbuster store that stickers its DVDs, both on the box and on the actual disc, with those annoying "Please Rewind" stickers).

No wonder studio marketing executives like the savvy bunch at Fox Home Entertainment routinely monitor this site for information on what consumers want in the way of special features, and even invite members every now and then to visit the studio and preview upcoming DVDs in person.

It's the ultimate focus group, a new and improved way of finding out what the customer wants and then giving it to them.

Retailers should take a cue from Fox and other farsighted studios and use the Internet not just as a marketing tool, but as a vehicle to listen to suggestions and exchange ideas with their customers.

Work the chat rooms religiously and treat the chatters as the consultants they are.

Retailers have always stressed the importance of keeping in touch with their customers and involving them in business decisions, and now the Internet makes it easier than ever to do so.

If the golden rule in business is keeping the customer satisfied, this is the way to go. Monitoring the DVD chat rooms, filled with diehard fans of the packaged home entertainment industry's hottest format, will surely result in any number of tips and ideas for delivering the goods.

And that's what this business--any business--is all about, isn't it?

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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