It’s no secret that each year more and more Americans are shifting their shopping habits to ecommerce and buying via their smart phones, tablets, and computers. In fact, according to the research firm, ShopperTrak, brick-and-mortar sales on Black Friday fell to $10.4 billion this year (down from $11.6 billion in 2014).
While we don’t have light sabers or time machines, the last decade has proven to consumers that science fiction has an eerie way of transforming future promises into reality. Moreover, it seems like the prosaic advancements in technology we see today are the very bytes of technology that would have the generations before us stunned in curiosity and be begging for more.
Pure optimization eventually leads to extinction. Big retailers are always trying to optimize some facet of the resources they have at their disposal. They optimize assortments, optimize marketing budgets, optimize shelf space, optimize inventory, optimize the supply chain… the list goes on and on.
My boss is the ultimate tech geek. He always has the latest Android devices, his house is voice automated and he reuses his old phones to build in-home surveillance systems. It might sound unusual, but I’ve even become accustom to him looking at his watch whenever I’m talking to him.
If the advertising industry wasn’t already crammed with ill-advised commercials on smartphones and tablets, we now have to navigate a fractured market rife with challenges like streaming TV, illegal downloads, and even a device created to skip commercials.
Growing up, I knew “because my friends are doing it” wasn’t a good response to my parents asking, “David, why did you do that?” But as a child, logic often wasn’t a consideration. And yet, marketers seem to be using the same logic when it comes to the ubiquitous hashtag, six years into its livelihood.
In today’s socially driven, instant (eat cake/want cake too) society, shopping is a lot like dating. Consumers want the touch and feel of in-store shopping, but crave the instant savings and convenience of online shopping. Everyone has their type, but big retailers are struggling with finding that customer sweet spot between in-store personal experience and online love connections.