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What happened to NetMeals™?

NetMeals™ underwent a successful pilot as an online application to facilitate the ordering of takeout lunch by people who work in office buildings. As I was planning to enhance it for more sites, I came to a fascinating revelation about the demographic it served.

Besides being universally prized as a consumer group, this urbane, educated, web-savvy demographic possesses the correct digital profile to appreciate a distinctly different way of conducting online commerce – where customers initiate the sales transaction, thereby reversing the direction commerce typically takes.

Instead of sellers broadcasting a message to the very many in hopes of catching the very few, demand-side commerce advocates customers intentcasting their purchasing plans – the what, which (brands), when and where they aspire to acquire. This consumer-centric approach to acquiring goods is indisputably more cost-effective to both sales parties than the present seller-centric way that has dominated commerce for centuries. It would be challenging to identify a group more ready for intentcasting than online-fluent, web-dependent and well-paid office staffers.

After the shenanigans of NSA, the average consumer is much more aware of both how extensively ecommerce firms harvest their data and how important that information is to fueling profits for those ventures. As a result the timing is perfect for offering consumers a way to conduct demand-side commerce because this method bypasses both the inefficiency and privacy issues inherent in the profligate way buyers are targeted today.

Online advertisements’ increasing intrusiveness and consistent abuse of consumers’ personal data are compelling reminders to customers that they are not getting a fair deal in broadcasting’s frenzy of algorithmic guessing. The logic inherent in intentcasting has always been impeccable:

If marketers can purchase consumer information from third-parties, each profiting accordingly, then shouldn’t the true originators of the data – the consumers themselves – also profit fairly from its diffusion?

Consumers are increasingly recognizing the value their personal information brings to a sale transaction. This growing awareness energizes a historic opportunity.

Nathan Schor

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