The chairman and CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has a deep appreciation for the role of consumers in navigating a business. Alibaba’s social responsibility includes providing 0.3% of their revenue to environmental protection. His priority list, even surpassing social responsibility, includes businesses concentrating on Alibaba’s beliefs and hopes, the reasons as to why they got into this business and their approach in satisfying consumers, in contrast to focusing solely on profits and margins.
There are vital lessons that other businesses can learn from Alibaba’s customers-first philosophy:
- Businesses need to think like their customers.
Many technology innovators accentuate technology and place products above everything else, thus loosing sight of the target audience. Alibaba states that they look at technology through the eyes of their consumers. The great achievement of Alibaba thus far has been achieved through placing consumers first. This can be seen by their acquired knowledge and understanding of the Chinese Market, which has had an effect on their approach to even their product variety. They help small businesses and are adamant about caring more about them than caring for yourself.
“Focus first on customer satisfaction and second on teamwork. Shareholders’ interests come third because they are outcomes, not inputs.”
-Jack Ma, Alibaba chairman and CEO
Alibaba makes it effortless for small businesses to use their website as they have constructed a customer-oriented design that makes it more easy for consumers to seek and buy items on this website.
- Businesses should treat their consumers like a crystal ball.
Alibaba is dedicated on having a long-term vision for their business. The company has previously stated that this long-term vision requires them to not be sidetracked by transitory of the economy as it will have its ups and downs.
Alibaba achieves this by being focused on the consumer and watching their actions as they have also predicted the rise of customer-to-business (C2B) corporate strategies for the near future, and predict that consumers will be empowered resulting in fully commanding their needs to companies.
- Businesses must create value for their consumers.
Alibaba acknowledges that consumers are more then customer who buy products. The consumer of today is a member of society that is concerned with their environment and social outcomes.
“Your business model, it should create value and be good to society.”
– Jack Ma, Alibaba chairman and CEO
Companies must have this wider lens perspective when it comes to consumers. In this new era of empowered consumers, they select the brands that demonstrate the same ideals that support theirs, making them the values-driven consumers.
Najberg, A. (October 20, 2011) “Jack Ma: Business Model ‘Should Be Good to Society’” The Wall Street Journal (WSJ Blog) Web. http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2011/10/20/jack-ma-business-model-should-be-good-to-society/
Claveria, K. (December 8, 2014) “What CMOs and CEOs can learn from Alibaba’s Jack Ma” Visioncritical.com Web. https://www.visioncritical.com/jack-ma-customer-centric/