When the Photiq team looks at retail websites such as Walmart or Amazon, we think of a future where everything a person wants to buy can be found on one of these two websites. Products will indeed have become commodities… Anything you want you can find online and have it shipped to you.
Similarly, the time taken to deliver items is decreasing – down to the point where you can now have an item couriered to your office and within the hour. Is there a demand for this? How do these ever shorter delivery time options tell us about the way we will be shopping in the future?
The Photiq team has its own thoughts on this. Why is we have to wait for items to be delivered at all? And why do we have to bear this cost for the inconvenience of having to wait? We think that shipping is very old fashioned. In our evermore faced paced society, we are used to things happening faster, information spreading faster and getting the things we want faster. At the same time, the trend with shopping has been the opposite. Instead of finding, buying and getting what we want on the same day, with online shopping, this process now takes longer.
Ok, so not everyone needs to have their item immediately and there is the convenience of having your purchase come to you, rather than having to go and get it yourself. But when it comes to emergencies and avoiding having to deal with returning items to an anonymous, faceless online retailer, nothing beats walking into a store and making sure that the item is really what you want, having it immediately and then still being able to return it if you need to. And lastly, shopping is not just about the outcome its about the experience (for the lady that likes to browse anyway).
These argument have been made before, but the Photiq team has one further thought on convenience. The ease of online shopping is more about being able to find a specific product more quickly, easily and possibly cheaply. The online browsing experience has also improved greatly over the past few years. Just look at sites such as Asos, Etsy and Wanelo. Its what online does best, categorize and organize products so that they are easily found by the consumer. When the Photiq team talks to male shoppers, we notice how they shiver at the thought of shopping and having to browse different stores to find what they are looking for. It’s why more men shop online than women, as we noticed in a previous post.
So what is the future? If the Photiq team could gaze into a crystal ball, here’s what we think the future shopping experience would look like. Since we are optimists, we are not predicting tumbleweed drifting across deserted communities, with no stores and everyone buying products online. Instead, our vision is that of the the local business also offering the same or better online (and mobile) experience that we have today. Combining the brick-and-mortar store with an online one that encourages foot traffic but also provides the same ease and convenience of buying online.
Online retailers such as Apple do this the other way round and find that the instore experience greatly enhances the relationship and loyalty of their customer base. Great experience. Peace of mind. Get it now. Amazon is also looking to do the same thing as was reported by GigaOM last year. So why not the other way round?