The idea of the consumer has taken many forms throughout history. The consumer was initially the end of a product life-cycle. With time, a large distribution of goods had led to the emergence of a secondary market for services. This helped make the production and consumption of goods easier. Due to the Industrial Revolution, and advancements in production technology, manufacturing became largely machine operated, allowing for an increase in productivity and lead times.
With modern improvements in telecommunication and the advent of the Internet of Things, the consumer is no longer the end of a product life-cycle. Rather, they play an ever-increasing role in shaping products and services, leading to offerings that are more personalized and meet the needs of an ever-increasing population dynamics.
Evolution of the internet, and subsequently, E-commerce and OTT services, has brought a wide array of products, services, and information at hand. However, this overwhelms the consumer, making it difficult for them to make informed decisions. Often, consumers may not carry out or get involved in a transaction, due to an overwhelming number of choices.
Categorization and prioritization of content help narrow down choices and provides only shortlist relevant content, be it products or services to be offered, or content that is to be consumed. Marketing of this nature has been made possible by the advent of social media, which has been instrumental in profiling groups based on their online presence and activities.
Inspired by this, E-commerce and OTT platforms have changed, incorporating user participation through comments, reviews, ratings to gauge their preference, both at an individual and a group level.
Personalization takes many forms, by way of recommendations, items they may like, alongside conventionally popular products and topics. Furthermore, feedback received from these algorithms helps profile the user better and improve the quality of content pushed to the user. This way, users get content that is tailored to their tastes, leading them to engage with a particular platform more.
Personalized marketing has expanded in many ways, in conjunction with social media marketing. For example, MMORPGs and online first-person shooters are frequented by millions of gamers worldwide. This provides an opportunity for brands to market products based on the interests of buyers.
In Second Life, some stores offer consumer electronics in exchange for virtual currency (lindens), and buyers can have goods delivered to their real residences. This way, buyers can check out products they would like to buy in shape and form and have the same product (eg. clothing, handiwork) delivered to them.
E-commerce and OTT platforms have improved, largely by understanding their consumers. Better products can only be sold by better understanding the needs and requirements of the end-user. Furthermore, personalizing products can help emulate user choices and thus, give the user the best experience possible, in the process. Improving the consumer base and subsequently, expanding the scale of business.