The capabilities and expansion of commerce tools will be driven by third party software developers based on experiences with other market channels like music, travel and entertainment. This includes Google and Amazon which both already provide an eCommerce sales channel. This prediction is based on history and human nature, all recent industries that have undergone great change have been dragged kicking and screaming into the future.
The music industry is the greatest example of this type of fight against the future taken to the extreme where they took their fight out to the people with lawsuits. That was the perfect example of a futile fight and the industry could have spent its money and efforts on preparing for the future. The industry really should have seen the movement with the introduction of Amazon and the Kindle on the literature industry. Its really kind of humorous if you ask me because the people in the music industry all took advantage of the improvements delivered through technology but for some strange reason just could not give up the dying sales channel.
I see the same tendency from major brick and mortar retailers to fight the trends and the new developments embraced by customers. The recent war against ‘window shopping’ is a great example. Window shopping is the practice of customers to go to the store to touch and try the product and then order online to take advantage of a lower price. The retailers initial reaction was to fight the practice and to a very large extent they are still fighting the new practices that are introduced by customers. I have said before that the way to grow and and expand business is to encourage and embrace innovations and especially from the consumers.
Amazon and Google are poised to change the omni channel experience by extending the services and capabilities they’ve learned through eCommerce sales and marketing. Both have a dramatic head start in this area and it will be difficult if not impossible to overcome. This head start was built over time with a great deal of investment in technology development and hardware. This head start will allow both Google and Amazon to fashion the industry for a long time to come. If the retail industry continues to fight the innovations, they will do nothing but perhaps slow them. Instead of fighting they must embrace in order to influence and help to guide the impact of the innovations.
And now for the audience participation portion of the show…
What types of cross channel services and offerings would you like to see to enhance your shopping experience? Retailers are focused on maintaining sales volumes through reductions in pricing rather than expansion of sales, or even maintaining sales through creative utilization of eCommerce services. Did you shop over the Gray Thursday / Black Friday period? What was your experience in stores and malls?