The Economist writes in a survey on how the digital marketplace has made the cusotmer king:
This new consumer power is changing the way the world shops. As this survey will show, the ability to get information about whatever you want, whenever you want, has given shoppers unprecedented strength. In markets with highly transparent prices, they are kings. The implications for business are enormous: threatening for some, welcome for others. For instance, the huge increase in choice makes certain brands more valuable, not less. And as old business divisions crumble, a strong brand in one sector can provide the credibility to enter another. Hence Apple has used its iPod to take away business for portable music players from Sony; Starbucks is aiming to become a big noise in the music business by installing CD-burners in its cafs; and Dell is moving from computers into consumer electronics.
With consumers becoming increasingly empowered, how can the marketing, advertising and communications firms that companies use to promote their products hope to get their messages across? And what does it mean for media businesses relying on advertising revenue, the traditional channels for reaching this increasingly elusive audience? Disintermediationthe process of middlemen being cut outseems to be in the air.