As I previously discussed, I believe that Amazon and Google are poised to change the consumer shopping experience and they will not wait for any retailer to catch up. I explained through example my reasons for coming to this conclusion based on technology and Internet impact on other markets. These types of scenarios that are brought about when a new player enters the market with game changing new services, products or delivery methods is not new to advances in technology. However technology can and does have a major impact on the potential velocity and discontinuous nature of these game changing services, products or delivery methods.
Let me start with another perspective on omni channel retailing; this is not a new concept however the services and delivery methods have been dramatically impacted by advances in technology. One hundred years ago retailers, Sears, Montgomery Wards and Spiegel entered the retail scene and forever changed the market with the new catalog technology. As a result of their new concept in retailing, and the initial omni channel retail market, these retailers changed the marketplace and as a result drove many competitors out of business. The new technology in this example was a paper product catalog mailed to customers and sales through consumer orders sent through the mail. In other words, the new service was the catalog and the new delivery methods were paper based orders and the US Postal Service.
In today’s market the new technology is the Internet for the catalog and then the consumer interacts with the catalog for purchases via a computer and mobile smartphone technology. The current leaders driving these new game changing services and methods are major players such as Amazon and Google as the giant slayers. This current environment has changed in another key manner from the advances in technology and that is the cost of entry and the tools to present services and products to the consumer. In this market the technology has allowed small retailers to compete effectively. This expansion of competition really increases the velocity of change and speeds the market impact.
In the current market, the impact of herd shopping habits is even greater and the technology embraced by consumers increases the speed and impact of this habit. This is where it ties again back to the impact of culture where the consumer has less leisure time available and therefore is more selective in how they spend this leisure time. Why should a consumer spend hours and days shopping for a product and then potentially spending even more time searching for availability of the product? You can spend short bursts of time researching and searching via the Internet at any time that you please, saving time and money you would spend commuting from store to store in your search. The winners will embrace this practice to support the consumers’ and build the repeat business through technology.
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?