I, Shopping, take you Technology, To Have And To Hold From This Day Forward
The marriage of shopping and technology was a long time coming; they didn’t keep their relationship under wraps, although they tried. Marriage has been a bumpy ride for these two, as they attempted to keep their physical retail counterparts happy and content, while profiting from the “dot com boom.” Now stronger than ever, with new innovations being unveiled daily, shopping and technology go hand and hand, and the only way for the physical store to survive is to accept its solo demise and join in on the established union.
“The Future of Shopping,” a recent article published in the Harvard Business Review, penned by retail consultant Darrell Rigby, details the ups and downs and soaring opportunities for ecommerce. With more than 9% of all retail sales happening online (a 5% increase from last year), he pinpoints that we are far past the “dot com” shopping era, and are now fully involved in “Omnichannel retailing,” which includes websites, stores, kiosks, catalogs, call centers, social media, mobile devises, gamming consoles, televisions, networked appliances, and home services, to name a few (kidding). This Omnichannel binds every shopping counterpart together, causing all to work together to excel the exposure, accessibility, and profit of a given brand or product, under the roof of digital technology, which Rigby defines precisely:
“Digital technology—in the form of tablets, for example—can also give sales associates nearly infinite information about customers, describing the way they like to be treated and creating precise models of their homes or body types that enable perfect choices. It can change pricing and promotions accurately and instantaneously. It can provide customized recommendations. Virtual mirrors accelerate and enliven the dressing room experience by connecting customers with trusted friends. Technology can eliminate checkout lines, capture transaction receipts, file rebate claims, and speed returns. It can give a call center operator full access to a customer’s purchase and complaint history.”
The best advice for all shoppers out there, is to become savvy with apps that offer everything from shopping tips, perks, coupons, and advise. Amazon.com, the leading innovator of online shopping, putting several companies out of business every day, has taken further steps to give themselves an almost unfair advantage. Amazon’s Price Check App will allow you to take cell phone photos of an item you want to purchase inside any physical store, and submit them to receive a 5% discount offer off that very product on their site. Apps such as Amazon’s, can easily demolish the small business in due time.
According to the Harvard Business Review’s calculations, by 2014 every cell phone user will own a smartphone. Because of these truths, displayed urgently during this year’s Holiday shopping splurge, The Vogue City will unveil a ‘Technology’ tab, offering shopper’s insights and suggestions on what application to download, what website to visit, and essentially the latest technology that will benefit your wallet.
Returning to Rigby’s insights, he insists there is hope for the physical store. Shoppers enjoy being able to touch their product prior to purchasing, and like being tended to by salespeople, therefore with the right strategy and integrated technology trends, the physical store will have no problem surviving. “As a visually-oriented shopper who also values my freedom to browse, I am one who dislikes the targeted marketing approach (“Here is a deal for YOU!”). However, I do think the concept of “filtering” has merit in shopping: Present me with options in general that I am likely to enjoy – similar to browsing a department or style within a store – and I am more likely to buy from a position of ownership and economy,” a commenter on the Harvard Business Review’s website explains.
We’ve come to accept that our planet has been swallowed by technology. Understanding and learning one advancement at a time, is the only way to avoid becoming overwhelmed by your innumerable options. With social media, and the overtaking of the “app,” taking advantage of all the options these modernizations have to offer is the only way to save money, diminish shopping stress, and guarantee securing the best possible product for you. Apps such as Foursquare make it fun to save by “checking in” and racking up points in order to beat your friends in a friendly game. With that, and as brands revamp their stores to become interactive and “an experience,” trying to maintain a balance of physical and electronic, shopping can become more entertaining than you could have ever imagined. Keep on top of things and bookmark The Vogue City’s technology tab to remain omniscient on Omnichannel retailing.
By Caitlin Colford
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