Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shopping Time In The 21st Century

Shopping Time In The Hunter

NBN TV presented a "news" piece on retail shopping, in the wake of the Click Frenzy technology problem.

They began with saying:

"In the wake of the last night’s Click Frenzy flop, retailers are reminding shoppers there’s plenty of pros when it comes to ‘face to face sales’.  While online may be the latest trend, there are those who say nothing can beat the full retail experience."

That the video accompanying this statement was less a news item than something that would earn a place on Media Watch, it is an interesting link. It shows that the traditional media, much as many local retailers, and even bigger players just still don't get this whole paradigm shift.

Online shopping isn't a case of internet Vs local business. Local businesses should be using the internet and making their merchandise available easily for those people who can't or prefer not to go to the store.

The move to online shopping isn't a fad. We aren't going to wake up next Monday and have bakers wearing aprons and corner stores in every neighbourhood or Mrs Smith running out to pick up the milk bottles from the front door.

The whole Click Frenzy thing struck me as highly odd - given that I hate crowds and shopping anyway, so translating the Christmas shopping madness to online is no thrilling idea to me, but it was also going to test the competencies of those running the show. As is not really surprising, they failed to provide adequate resources so that the technology was capable of doing the thing it was meant to do. That's not a failure of the concept of online shopping, it is a failure of humans to manage the business end. This is a good example of how business underestimates the spend required to resource this new sales channel, and the investment they need to make in understanding the online business sector.

There is a tendency it seems, for some to treat online experiences, including social media marketing, or as it really should be called (since it is) Inbound Marketing, as a fad or a game. It is neither. It is a business issue. Not a game issue.

Strangely, some might think, it is not even something new. It is the old chat in the pub, learning about stuff from friends and gossiping over the back fence coupled with social proof and peer influence.

If you're approaching business online as a game you'll fail. If you think getting your teen to set up a Facebook page is social marketing, you've missed the point.

If you want to be in the group of people whose businesses are growing then you'll be in the section where real attention and resources are going into developing this additional channel for additional sales and magnifying in store sales by means of online engagement and uplift.

Here's a blog that speaks to some of this issue, from Paul Wallbank on findings contained within "The Advantages of Digital Maturity", a paper recently released by researchers at the MIT Sloan School of Management, looked at how different businesses adopted technology and the effect this had on their profits.

Finding 'Gardo', the movie

What has happened to shopping in Newcastle over the past 30 years, why are big shopping centres offering 'experiences' in addition to staples such as bread, milk, socks and jocks, and what are the smaller town centres doing to adapt to this change?

Take a look back at how shopping has already changed in Newcastle. 

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